>> Sunday, July 12, 2009
The Mountaineers have entered the stratosphere of college football's elite, after averaging 11 wins and finishing in the top 10 in three of the past four seasons. Bill Stewart, the heir apparent to Rich Rodriguez, was expected to have a national title contender last season, but early season losses to the likes of ECU and Colorado derailed those grand expectations and lead to a 10-4 final record. Stewart must now attempt to replace one of the best college football players of all-time, Pat White, and rebuild one of the nations most potent offensive lines.
Jarrett Brown will attempt to replace Pat White and that will be no easy task. Brown is a dual-threat quarterback, similar to White, but lacks the big play ability and moxie that made White so great. However, Stewart will have the trusty legs of Noel Devine to help the contend for the Big-East title and a BCS berth. Devine rushed for 1289 yards last season and averaged an eye-popping 6.3 ypc. Many may remember Devine garnering fame VIA youtube and his high school highlight video, but Devine is a legit heisman candidate this year and will produce huge numbers, even if the offensive line is green. The Mountaineers possessed one of the best offensive lines in the country last year, but that talent has hit the trail running. Selvish Capers and Eric Jobe are the only two returning starters and they will be joined by Josh Jenkins, Don Barclay and Matt Timmerman on a re-tooled offensive line. The line needs to be keen in pass protection, because Brown will need time to get the ball to his receivers. Alric Arnett and Bradly Starks will attempt to dissipate the loss of All Big-East WR Jock Sanders(DUI Arrest) and take the pressure off a young receiving corps.
While the Mountaineers offense seemed to garner all the accolades last season, lead by Pat White, the defense was one of the best in the country. Jeff Casteel's unit ranked 11th in the country and was tops in the Big-East throughout the season. The defensive line will be anchored by All-Big East performer Scooter Berry and Chris Nield and Julian Miller will join them on the outside of the 3-4 scheme. The linebacking corps loss all conference performer Mortty Ivy and will attempt to replace him with Reed Williams, who is coming off extensive rehab following shoulder surgery. J.T. Thomas and Anthony Leonard will attempt to solidify the linebacking corps. The defensive backfield will be manned by Brandon Hogan and Keith Tandy at the cornerback positions and Sidney Glover and Boogie Allen will set up shop at the strong and free safety positions.
If WVU wants to remain among the countries top 15-20 programs they must continue to recruit with the best in the country. That isn't always an easy task, but Bill Stewart has managed to bring in another good class. WVU landed the 27th best class in the country, according to Rivals.com and its lead by quarterback Eugene Smith. Smith is a 6'3", 182 pound quarterback with a nice set of wheels and he should be a threat in the spread option offense. Junior College defensive end Tevita Finau has an opportunity to provide an immediate impact at the defensive end position. Finau is a 6'5", 275 pound defensive end who can be a disruptive force in the 3-4 scheme.
October 30th-@South Florida-Loss
Season Projection: 10-2 (6-1 Big East)