We Must Ignite This Couch Articles

2013 WVU Football Season Preview (Part I- Offense)

By Jude
2013/08/30

I haven't written an article for this site since March of this year.

A number of factors have contributed to my overall lack of motivation on the topic of WVU athletics, but a recent call to action by the esteemed members of the WMITC message boards has brought me out of retirement like an old gunslinger drawn into the fight once more.

Did the massive downer of last year's football and basketball seasons suck the enthusiasm straight out of me? Am I getting more and more lethargic about producing these articles the further I get from my actual college days in Morgantown? Can I summon the reserve of smartass comments that brought life to these articles and the original content on this site?

ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT.

TRAINING MONTAGE:




In my case, training to do this crap again involves loosening up with some news to see if my snark is still capable of getting the job done.

Article: Buie leaves WVU . . . for now

Response: BYE BYE BUIE

Ewww... I might be rustier than I thought.

Article: Mountaineer defense to be active in opener

Response: Well, that's an improvement over them sleeping through last season.

Hey, that's not too bad. I might be getting back to the swing of things here.


Article: Two WVU students charged with malicious burning for a weekend dumpster fire...

Those kids must have been REALLY excited for the release of the 2-deep depth chart.

THAT'S IT, DAMNIT. I GOT IT BACK.

LET'S DO THIS.




Will this year's football team give us any reasons to take flame to upholstery? Read on, suckaz.



OFFENSIVE PREVIEW



- Quatrobacks

It's no secret that the main question surrounding the Mountaineers this season is that of the identity of the starting quarterback. Originally, it was envisioned that junior Paul Millard and redshirt-freshman Ford Childress would be battling for the position, but then redshirt-junior Florida State transfer Clint Trickett came into the equation, making it a 3-way race.

And as of Friday afternoon before the first home game... well... we still don't know.

When the Mountaineers released their depth chart last week, Millard and Trickett were listed as "co-starters" at the QB position, so that at least narrows the potential signal callers to two.

From there? Anybody's guess.

Holgorsen said in his Big XII conference call (as reported here) that both quarterbacks could conceivably play against William and Mary tomorrow. “They’ve both risen their game and are competing pretty good. How it plays out, I don’t know yet. We thankfully have practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to see where we’re at.”

Throughout the process, Holgorsen has said that both quarterbacks needed to do a better job in reducing the number of mistakes made to separate themselves from the pack.

"The quarterback that doesn’t make the bad decisions and turn the ball over is the guy that will have the chance to be the guy," Holgorsen said in this Big XII blog from espn.com. "I do not care what offense you run or where you are at, the quarterback that takes care of the ball and puts guys in position to be successful is the guy that will be your quarterback."

Millard saw time in 7 games last year as Geno Smith's backup, while Trickett (son of former WVU offensive line coach Rick "Run The Law School Steps, Fatboy" Trickett) saw a limited amount of action last year as E.J. Manuel's backup at Florida State before transferring to WVU this offseason. Trickett graduated early and is attending WVU for a post-graduate degree, which is why he didn't lose a year of eligibility after transferring.

Millard is seen as more of a gunslinging risk-taker, while Trickett has more of a game-manager quality. Trickett ran with the first-team offense in both of the scrimmages that the media saw during the offseason, so an educated guess (and that's all it is) would be that you'll see him take the first snap of the season.

This is to say that apparently I picked a good time to take the offseason off from writing articles, because NO ONE knows what the hell to expect from these guys.




"You going in this series?"
"Hell if I know."



- Running backs

Stacked.

That's the most appropriate word both for the Mountaineers at the running back position.

So stacked that last year's leading rusher wasn't even on the depth chart when it was released this week.

So stacked that he is taking a redshirt and has withdrawn from school.

Houston senior transfer Charles Sims gives WVU fans the most reason for excitement.

Don't take it from me. Just listen to the praise:

Quote:
In three seasons with the [Houston]Cougars, Sims rushed for 1,672 yards and 20 touchdowns and caught 88 passes for 948 yards and seven touchdowns. NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt ranks Sims as the top senior running back [for the 2014 NFL draft] and No. 12 overall senior entering the 2013 college football season.

- NFL.com article.


Quote:
“He will probably be the best running back at WVU since Steve Slaton. He’s in that mold.”

- West Virginia’s running backs coach JuJuan Seider in this article.


Quote:
“He’s a good player, very well-rounded. I remember him being very well-rounded with good ball skills, being good at setting up blocks. And I remember all of that at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds as opposed to being 6-1, 210 pounds, which he is now. He’s got an abundance of ability.”

- Dana Holgorsen, in the same article.


Excited yet?

True freshman Wendell Smallwood surprised many by earning the #2 spot on the depth chart behind Sims over upperclassmen like Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie.

“The thing Wendell brings to the table is he don’t care about his body … in a good way,” Seider replied when asked what Smallwood’s assets were in this article. “Sometimes you got to speed guys up when they see things. He’s already got a natural feel for pressing the hole and exploding through it.

And once he's through that hole? He's gone.

And if those two guys aren't getting it done, junior college transfer Dreamius Smith can. A bruising 5'11'' 220 pounds, Smith chose WVU over Boise State, Houston, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Kansas when he came in as one of the most highly-sought after junior college transfers in the nation after leading Butler Community College (no, seriously) to the national junior-college title game last year.

"He's got great ball skills," said running backs coach JaJuan Seider in this Post-Gazette article. "Just the way he looks -- you don't even think he's running, but he's one of the fastest guys on the team. The next thing you know, he's going for 70 or 80 yards and our safety can't catch him. He's deceptive."

And if all THREE of those guys fail, the Mountaineers can call on their leading rusher from two years ago, junior Dustin Garrison. Say what you will about the Mountaineers this year, but how many teams have a guy running as their 4th-string running back with a 291-yard rushing game on his resume?

The only question about the WVU backfield concerns whether or not it's right that established veterans Garrison and Buie should have to take a backseat to THREE separate newcomers. Coach Seider isn't worried about that.

“You can’t hold it against guys who weren’t here (Sims, Smallwood and Smith). That’s called recruiting. You’re always trying to make yourself better,” Seider said in this article. “If I’m a smart coach I’m going to go get guys equal or better than the guys I got playing. If they’re better, I’m not going to hold them back. I’m not worried about hurting someone’s feelings. We want to win.”


- Wide Receivers

The Mountaineers have never had to replace the degree of talent that last year's team lost when Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey made their way to the NFL this offseason. Austin was college football's most electric player, while Stedman Bailey was criminally underrated even while scoring an insane (Mountaineer record) 25 touchdowns last year. Hell, even J.D. Woods made his way onto an NFL preseason roster (the Steelers) this year. How many teams have 3 wide receivers playing as rookies from the same draft class?

So understanding that it's going to be next to impossible to replace two of the best receivers in WVU history, let's see who's going to try.

First and foremost, it's important to note that while we know who will be starting tomorrow at the WR position, Coach Holgorsen has indicated that as many as 8-10 guys could see snaps until guys prove themselves on the field.

Senior Ivan McCartney is back after leaving the team with four games left to go last season. He's cited personal reasons (most notably the serious illness of his grandfather) and not lack of production to explain his decision last year, but he's worked his way back on the team and up the depth chart through hard work.

Coach Holgorsen has certainly noticed a change:

"I think it matters a lot more to him now," Holgorsen said in this article. "Whatever those issues were that he was dealing with last year, I don't see him dealing with those. Is he going to be a difference maker? We'll see on Saturday."

McCartney always had the talent. A cousin of former Cincinnati Bengals star WR Chad Johnson, McCartney has a unique blend of size, speed, and hands. If his off-field issues are truly behind him, he'll be a weapon for whatever quarterback the roulette wheel selects to throw him the ball.




Ivan McCartney has some big shoes to fill on the outside for WVU.



Sophomore K.J. Myers will start at the other outside receiver spot. Standing 6-foot-2 at 197 pounds, Myers caught a touchdown in last season's opener, but struggled to find much playing time behind that aforementioned talented triumvirate of Mountaineer playmakers. He's worked hard to earn his time this season, using that perceived slight from last year to drive him:

"I feel like my game has changed dramatically since I got here," Myers said in this wvillustrated.com article. "I have a chip on my shoulder. I didn't get as much playing time as I wanted last year and I feel like I bettered myself coming from last year. I found out what I needed to do and what I didn't do last year that stopped me from getting that playing time that I wanted. I progressed on that over the summer, I worked on that [through all of] camp. Every day, I was just working."

True freshman Daikiel Shorts will get the start at Y (or slot) receiver after impressing the coaching staff all offseason. Shorts enrolled early last January, getting the benefit of additional preparation time before this season. As noted in this wvmetronews.com article, the only thing about Shorts that is "freshman" is the word next to his name in the scorebook.

“He’s a mature kid. He’s a smart kid. He likes to compete,” receivers coach Lonnie Galloway said. “He’s not afraid to stick his face in there. He doesn’t act like a freshman. He came in here hungry and he wants to play.”

Shorts was impressing coaches as a backup at the outside receiver positions before poor play from others in the slot caused the coaches to give him a chance there- and he was a stud.

"We're trying to get guys situated in spots where they're going to be most helpful to help this team win and move the ball. And that was a good move," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said in this wvillustrated.com article. "In one day, that kid showed that he's got the mental capacity and everything to line up at that position and do really good things. Obviously, I think that move was a good move."




Shorts hopes to impress when not wearing shorts as well.

Damn, I really am rusty at this. I apologize.


Photo by wvmetronews.com


Sophomore Cody Clay is a fullback/tight end/inside receiver/h-back type that can do it all for the Mountaineers. "He may be our best football player on our team," WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said of Clay at Big 12 Media Days as noted in this wvillustrated.com article. That article notes that he sits in with the running backs during meetings, but the official 2-deep released by the team lists him as the starter at the A receiver spot.

"He can be in the backfield, he can line up at tight end, he can line up at slot receiver and do a lot of things," said Holgorsen in the previously-cited wvillustrated.com article. "Our job offensively is to try to disguise that, to try to put people in positions they don't think are going to be there and be able to execute our offense regardless of where they line up."

Other contributors at the receiver position include Kevin White and Ronald Carswell, two junior-college transfers brought in for depth. White and junior college transfer Mario Alford both have foot injuries that may limit their play initially, and are both listed as questionable tomorrow. Redshirt freshman Devonte Mathis will see some time in the slot, as will electric sophomore Jordan Thompson who, unlike any other players in this paragraph, actually saw some playing time last year for the Mountaineers. Vernon Davis (no, not THAT Vernon Davis) was converted from cornerback to wide receiver in the spring after transferring from Miami before ever playing his freshman year, and may see some time as well.

Holgorsen doesn't believe that any of these potential contributors lack talent. It's how these newcomers will respond once the lights go on that worries him.

"You've got guys that haven't been through this before like Mario, Kevin, Ronald Carswell. They just haven't been through this before,'' Holgorsen said in this wvgazette.com article. "Devonte Mathis, Vernon Davis, they haven't been through this before.''


- Offensive line

Former Stanford offensive line coach Ron Crook is in his first year leading the Mountaineers' line, and will have to craft a new unit together after losing key contributors Joe Madsen, Josh Jenkins, and Jeff Braun.

Junior left tackle and sometimes aircraft carrier Quinton Spain returns to protect Quarterback X's blind side. Noticeably slimmer by all accounts after working hard to get in shape, Spain has legitimate NFL potential with his 6'9'' 335 pound frame and elite athleticism.




Action shot of junior tackle Quinton Spain



No small guy himself at 6'7'' and 310 pounds, senior right tackle Curtis Feigt is the other lineman with starting experience, and will get the start on the other side. Having experienced bookends should help the Mountaineers protect Quarterback X, and Feigt has also slimmed his body down to give him more agility, as this wvmetronews.com article notes.

Redshirt sophomore Marquis Lucas and redshirt junior Mark Glowinski earned the starting nod at the guard positions, while redshirt freshman center Tyler Orlosky fended off Tony Matteo and junior college transfer Stone Underwood for the starting nod.

There is some decent depth behind Spain and Feigt in the form of senior Nick Kindler who is perfectly capable of starting according to Coach Holgorsen, as noted in the previously-cited article. Additionally, senior Pat Eger “is practicing like a starter” and has seen extensive playing time in the past for the Mountaineers.

Holgorsen and Coach Crook have noted that like seemingly every offensive position other than running back, spots on the offensive line will be evaluated fluidly, as the season progresses.
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Poster Thread
Queen_Dean
Posted: 8/30/2013 8:06 pm  Updated: 8/30/2013 8:06 pm
Grant Ave. Warrior
Joined: 7/4/2008
From: Summersville, WV
Posts: 776
 Re: 2013 WVU Football Season Preview (Part I- Offense)
I have missed you...welcome back and Bring on the Mountaineers!
blohillbilly
Posted: 8/31/2013 3:49 am  Updated: 8/31/2013 3:49 am
Pitt Hater
Joined: 11/16/2006
From: East Aurora, NY via Aurora, WV
Posts: 2530
 Re: 2013 WVU Football Season Preview (Part I- Offense)
Football season has returned!!!
MountyInSC
Posted: 8/31/2013 5:27 am  Updated: 8/31/2013 5:27 am
Gettin' Schmitty
Joined: 1/18/2008
From:
Posts: 8385
 Re: 2013 WVU Football Season Preview (Part I- Offense)
Well done - mid season form...
Sane
Posted: 8/31/2013 9:13 am  Updated: 8/31/2013 9:13 am
WMITC
Joined: 1/6/2008
From: Here
Posts: 23308
 Re: 2013 WVU Football Season Preview (Part I- Offense)
I feel compelled to post that I read this (well, some of it). Otherwise, you'd be the one who's disappointed.

wooddash
Posted: 9/2/2013 6:50 am  Updated: 9/2/2013 6:50 am
Pitt Hater
Joined: 12/20/2007
From: Rockville, MD
Posts: 2418
 Re: 2013 WVU Football Season Preview (Part I- Offense)
This summary is a LOT better than the crap being posted that we aren't good and need to change everything. Thank you, Jude. I love the aircraft carrier.
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