The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

August 1, 2013

New season, fresh start for WVU

MORGANTOWN — It all begins again for West Virginia University football today.

Forget about last year, about the defensive disaster that turned what some thought would be a championship season as the Mountaineers moved from the Big East to the Big 12. Forget that the Mountaineers staggered through its worst defensive season ever, so bad that even the record-shattering heroics of quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey could produce no more than a 7-6 record.

But that was yesterday and as the Beatles once noted:

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.”

Indeed, Smith, Austin and Bailey are history, and coach Dana Holgorsen tries to put together the pieces to a new team. It is a team that enters a new season without any great expectations, picked eighth in the Big 12’s preseason poll.

It is, however, a team that could either be a huge surprise or a huge disappointment.

That is what preseason camp is all about.

Perhaps the most important part of the three-week preseason camp will for someone to take charge at quarterback.

Clint Trickett goes in as the favorite, a transfer from Florida State, a kid with West Virginia roots being the son of former WVU assistant Rick Trickett. Trickett has most recently been the offensive line coach at Florida State, where the younger Trickett was a quarterback.

“He’s got confidence in his abilities,” Holgorsen said last week in Dallas during Big 12 Media Day. “But it wouldn’t be fair to anybody if I just gave him the job. He’s got to go earn it.”

The competition will be open between Trickett, who had some big moments filling in at FSU, last year’s backup Paul Millard and the talented but untested redshirt Ford Childress.

“I want to see a guy separate himself, whether it’s taking control of the huddle, making the correct throws, making the correct decisions, making the correct run checks, getting the other guys on the team to develop confidence in him,” Holgorsen said.

“That may take a day, or it may take two-and-a-half weeks. The sooner the better.”

In the past, WVU was mostly a throwing team, complete with Smith’s passing ability and Austin’s and Bailey’s exceptional receiving skills. This year, with the quarterback situation uncertain and the receivers also unproven but certainly talented, it could be that WVU will run to set up the pass rather than vice versa.

The biggest depth is in the running game, with senior transfer Charles Sims from Houston bringing in great versatility, being able to run and receive as he uses his final of eligibility. He is familiar with Holgorsen’s offense, having played for him when Holgorsen was offensive coordinator during his freshman year at Houston.

Much of the offense will be built around Sims, with these three weeks of camp used to getting him to work in with the quarterbacks, both as a runner but more important as a receiver. He brings with him 158 career receptions at Houston.

But there is so much with both Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison having produced 200-plus-yard games over the past two seasons and transfer Dreamius Smith being a power back to join the versatile Cody Clay. WVU is sure to have a different look than a year ago.

“I do feel good about where we’re at running back-wise. When you look at Dreamius Smith, one of the more sought-after running backs in the JUCO ranks last year, who was with us in spring practice. Dustin Garrison was a full-time starter as a true freshman, and Andrew Buie was a guy that had 200 yards against Texas last year,” Holgorsen said.

“So we’ve got capable guys, as deep there as we’ve ever been; that’s for certain.”

Reshaping the offense certainly is crucial, but even more important is for this camp to shape a defense that can make last year’s defense nothing more than a bad dream.

This won’t be easy, and a lot may have to do with newcomers D’Vante Henry and Garrett Hope as linebackers. If they can step right in and join the likes of safeties Darwin Cook and Karl Joseph and senior defensive end Will Clarke the Mountaineers might show marked improvement over a season ago.

Add this to discovering just who will both punt and placekick and the three weeks of camp might not ever be long enough, yet it is going to have to be because they get what figures to be little more than a dress rehearsal in the season opener against William & Mary before traveling to Oklahoma to take on the Sooners in a game that will just tell you what kind of team this will be.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Growing demands on college athletes concerns Wyant

    Fred Wyant, one of the greatest quarterbacks in West Virginia University’s history, has lashed out at today’s growing demands on college athletes.
    The 80-year-old Star City resident led the Mountaineers to a 30-4 record as the starter from 1952-1955. Percentage-wise, it’s clearly the best-ever record by a QB in school annals.
    Wyant, a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, came here after graduating with honors from Weston High School. That’s where WVU coach Art “Pappy” Lewis signed him to a four-year scholarship.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos