Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Big East 2010-West Virginia Mountaineers
2009 Record: 9-4 (5-2)
Head Coach: Bill Stewart (19-8, 3rd season)
Offensive Coordinator: Jeff Mullen (3rd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Jeff Casteel (9th season)
2009 Bowl Game: Gator Bowl, Lost to Florida State 33-21
Offense: 9 Starters return this season, but the most important position of all is a new starter...the QB spot. Jarrett Brown is gone, so enter sophomore Gino Smith. He is unproven, and has a total of 49 passes thrown for his career thus far. It's a big leap of faith going with him, but there is nobody else to turn to, with the exception of Coley White, brother of Pat White, who took a significant number of snaps in the spring due to an injury to Smith. Everything else is set. Noel Devine is a fantastic back, and rushed for 1465 yards and 13 scores last season. Jock Sanders leads the receivers, as he had 72 catches a season ago, albeit it was for a lot of short gains. RT Matt Timmerman will be the lone new starter on the line.
Defense: 9 starters return on the defense as well. Julian Miller is a beast at DE, registering 9 sacks and 14 TFLs a season ago. He will only get better. The inside lineman are excellent and they suck up blocks to allow the edge guys to go make plays. Pat Lazear and JT Thomas are tackling machines at LB, while Anthony Leonard looks to be the lone new starter at LB. FS Robert Sands is the leading returning pick artist, as he had 5 a year ago. Expect that number to climb in 2010. 4 out of 5 members of the secondary return (WVU runs a 3-3-5 set). SS Terence Garvin will be the lone new starter in the backfield, and he will be the youngest of the defensive starters as well.
Special Teams: Tyler Bittancourt is a highly accurate PK, and will likely get more chances to kick with a new QB in play in 2010. There will be a new punter, as Scott Kozlowski took his 44.4 average to graduation. Gregg Pugnetti is the lead candidate to replace him.
Wins: 9/4 Coastal Carolina, 9/10 @ Marshall, 9/18 Maryland, 10/9 UNLV, 10/14 South Florida, 10/23 Syracuse, 10/29 UConn, 11/20 @ Louisville, 12/4 Rutgers
Toss Up Games: 9/25 @ LSU, 11/13 Cincinnati, 11/26 @ Pittsburgh
The September slate is ridiculously easy until the 9/25 trip to Baton Rouge. The three toss games will tell whether WVU is a championship contender, or a championship pretender.
Outlook: The QB situation is wobbly at best to me, and if you are a WVU fan, you should be concerned. That one position is going to make or break you, because you simply cannot put all of the load on Noel Devine's shoulders, even though you would like to. Don't be too hard on your shiny toy, or else you'll break it. The defense is solid, so I'll look for a lot of low scoring games on key dates, specifically against Pitt and UConn.