Andrew Cousins/MetroNews

Junior college transfer Kevin White has the size and speed to become WVU’s top receiving target in 2013. But we won’t hold him to the 110-catch benchmark set by Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — On this, the long-awaited dawn of fall practice at West Virginia, let’s set the line on some over/unders for the upcoming season:

Wins: More than this, and WVU goes bowling for the 12th consecutive year. Any less and we’re only shifting full attention to Bob Huggins’ team in December. Your take on this matter likely depends on whether you believe games at Maryland and Kansas are gimmies. If so, you probably feel comfortable that WVU beats Texas Tech and Iowa State at home and gets to six wins. If not, you’re taking the doomsayer approach and stockpiling canned goods in the basement.

Yards for Andrew Buie this season against Texas: OK, now there’s your gimmie.



Catches for WVU’s leading receiver: Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey each caught 114 balls last season while auditioning for the Rams, but this year’s receiving rotation is muddled. Kevin White looks like a beast on the outside, and either half of the Mario Alford-Jordan Thompson combo could benefit from a gazillion targets on the inside. How long before Shelton Gibson breaks out? Does Ivan McCartney write the strangest comeback story in program history? Does Connor Arlia evolve into a walk-on version of Wes Welker?

Catches for Cody Clay: Hopefully it’s more. Would love to see the big H-back rewarded for all the dirty work he provides.


Ejections for targeting: Based on video scrutinized from last season, five hits by Mountaineers could have resulted in DQs. Maybe the offseason emphasis will change the way defenders make contact, but entering fall camp most Big 12 coaching staffs—including WVU’s—had yet to address the new guidelines with players.

Passing yards by WVU’s starting quarterback: Dana Holgorsen’s string of 11 straight years with a 4,000-yard passer includes NFL talents such as Geno Smith, Brandon Weeden, Graham Harrell and Kliff Kingsbury. But it also includes B.J. Symons, Cody Hodges and a dude named Sonny Cumbie who narrowly won the job in 2004 at Texas Tech and promptly led the freaking nation in passing. Against the background of that unfathomable track record, does anyone doubt Holgorsen’s ability to squeeze a strong season out of the Trickett-Childress-Millard medalist? Obviously, a midseason QB switch or an untimely injury could impact this O/U. But Holgorsen tends to pick and stick with the right guy, and his quick-pitch passing attack aims to limit the number of hits quarterbacks absorb.

Points allowed per game: Last season, this mark would have placed West Virginia among the nation’s top 80 defenses. Not exactly stingy, but lightyears better than where the Mountaineers actually finished—ranked 114th at 38.08 points. Can Keith Patterson’s revamped schematics change the tone? Can a handful of junior college imports make the jump to Division I? Can the cornerbacks get a clue? If so, perhaps WVU can shave off more than a TD per game this season, particularly in light of seven Big 12 teams entering fall camp with quarterback conundrums.

Big 12 rank in net punting: West Virginia finished dead last in the conference a year ago when it netted only 33.8 per punt. Surely the powerful leg of 6-foot-5 Nick O’Toole can boost WVU a couple notches.

Cornerbacks to start a game: During the weekly switcheroo that was 2012, six cornerbacks rotated into the two spots—with results that ranged from shaky to shameful. While the cornerbacks yet again figure to be the weak link in the defense, WVU coaches hope a few players can at least develop the technique and confidence to avoid another who’s-got-next merry-go-round.

Recruits who fail to qualify: The three unknowns as of Wednesday night were four-star linebacker Darrien Howard of Dayton, Ohio; three-star safety Isaac McDonald of Hialeah, Fla.; and outside linebacker Brandon Golson of Georgia Military College. All three were viewed as essential defensive signees, with Golson anticipated to contribute immediately.

Fourth-down gambles by Holgorsen: If you thought WVU’s 34 fourth-down attempts last season seemed atypically aggressive, you’re right—only five teams in the nation had more. Big 12 champ K-State attempted only eight.

Appearances by WVU’s new all-gold uniforms: Really hoping for the under on this one. Bleck!

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  • big tom

    3 returning off.starters,,,,, new qb,,, essentially a new off. line.
    folks , we better be satisfied with 6-6,,, too bad we don't have marsha to tune up with,, they are such a weak team but it always gives our scrubs a chance to get in...

    • I'm a Herdman

      Easy to say when we are not on the schedule this year. Marshall is going to be a very talented team this year. Be glad we are not playing you guys. The ride is over on Morgantown. Get used to 5-7 win seasons.

      • Hillboy wv

        Yeah marshall has really whipped up on the eers. Thank god we dont play a team that has never beaten us. Well you did come close once when doc knew the plays and stew (god rest his so) didnt change the plays.

        • Hillboy wv

          Soul. Phone sucks.

  • cutty77

    7 an 5 This Team will Lose early,then win late. And they will Run The Football all year.

    • Big Larry


      You know I love your work...but 7-5?

      5-7 is more realistic...

  • Mike

    Does anyone know if Golson, Howard and McDonald made it and same goes for Macon and Miles.. Alan please check it out. Me too please?

    Nice article, I believe turnovers will be a problem this year with so many new comers and so many players making time to play... 2 a game over or under?


    • CarlosDangerfield

      Macon ain't makin' it.
      Golson is out drinking Molsons.
      The Juco's are still awaiting their probation hearings allowing for out of state travel to WV. What numbers will the Juco's wear? Something like Inmate number 947063421.
      Hint to the Juco's. Don't wear your WVU-issued practice gear when you commit your next crime in Morgantown.

      • JSpurlock

        You idiot. The guy that committed a crime that worse his school issued stuff wasnt a Juco. He was signed out of high school in Florida. I guess success breeds this kind of hate.
        GO MOUNTAINEERS!!!!!!!!!!

        • Hop'sHip

          It's Fungo.

        • tw eagle

          dangerfield is OJ's cellmate . . .life sentence . . .for stupidity . . .

  • Big John

    Does anyone know if Golson, Howard and McDonald made it and same goes for Macon and Miles. Roster says Macon is in on Blue Gold but I do not believethat is correct. Alan please check it out. Good article.

  • JeremyB

    1. For Carlosdangerfield being the #1 d-bag.

    • CarlosDangerfield

      Whats you talkin' about, Willis?

  • CarlosDangerfield

    10,000. The number of empty seats in the stadium for the W&M and Ga. St. games?
    (Bet the over.)

    6. The number of times that Tony Caridi will say "Its a great day to be a Mountaineer, whever you may be."
    (Bet the under.)

    30. the number of times TC says "another turnover committed by the Mountaineers." (Bet the over.)

    25. The number of times you tell yourself, "Boy I'm glad I didn't spend my hard earned money and drive to Morgantown to watch this crap."

    15. The number of signs in the stands that say "Fire Holgorsen" during the last home game of the season.

    15,000. The number of empty seats in the stadium at kickoff for the last home game of the season.

    50,000. The numer of fans who jump off the bandwagon after Oklahoma beats WVU 58-7.

    • JSpurlock

      ^^^^Completely wrong.
      I hope your on here come the last game of the season to eat the giant amount of crow that will be served to you.

    • William

      UNDER / OVER:
      35,000 How many season ticket will WVU sell.

      30,000 How many BEERS will WVU sell each game

      50 How many times will "Casino Holgerson" say 'YOU KNOW' in a 5 minute interview

      1 Million How much money will WVU make each game

      10,000 How many fans will buy ticket for the Pinstripe Bowl after this season

      5 How many people that work in the WVU athletic Dept. HAVE GREAT CHARACTER

      50,000 How many WVU fans eat it up and think their a great team when they beat cupcake teams like WILLIAM and MARY, GEORGIA STATE

      3 How many more years will HOLGERSON be head coach at WVU


      • Bagelknot

        William, let me guess, you're a Marshall fan?

      • Shawn

        Now're just upset that WVU is the flagship University!

        I'll tell you what...i'll put in a good word with Ollie to hire you and Larry. I think they are looking for a couple guys to clean the urinals.

        • tw eagle

          HEY , I worked hard to get that job , and now you're gonna pull the plunger outta my hands . . .and the beer sales were just beginning to
          make the urinal job worthwhile . . .

      • tw eagle

        William , let's go on a hunting trip . . .we'll take our dogs with us . . .Ollie will be my lead dog - he's the best , but he hunts with a passion that you don't quite fathom . . .holgie is a new young pup , good but still learning new and winning ways . . .and then we got the old dog himself huggy . . .used to be a good dog , now he's lucky to find his food bowl. . .like everybody , you got a right to complain , but don't shoot all the dogs
        just cause one rabbit got away . . .

      • Big Larry


        "Love your Work"

    • Hop'sHip

      Pretty funny stuff, Carlos. Maybe you aren't Fungo afterall. Funny but rather bleak assessment to what we have to look forward. So I hope you're wrong on all accounts.

  • Wvrefugee

    What is the over/under that our defense makes a team run 7 or more plays to score this year???

  • Wemakerain

    I like the gold helmets, but otherwise I'm pretty indifferent to them. I read on another site Golson and Howard are in and listed on the roster and student directory, I don't know anything on McDonald but I remember him being offered by Notre Dame and they typically target kids with good grades so I'm taking your under Allan

  • big tom

    the only thing i can say is that those all gold unis are absolutely totally ugly , TOTALLY

    • Big Larry

      big tom,

      Just be thankful that the Grey Helmets and Grey uniforms are gone...

      BTW.... Whether in football or basketball, they seem to lose every time they wear the all gold.

  • Yogi Wahoo

    Fun article, lots to ponder. 8 wins, no blow out losses, Simms gets more TD'S receiving than rushing, and more than 400 calls to Sportsline about QB change if 2 losses in a row.

  • Drew

    Interesting that you choose Wes Welker for three receiver Connor Arlia could be. I'm sure it has nothing to do with skin color

    • Pete

      Wow, call Eric Holder, start an investigation.

    • Drew

      the, not three. stupid phone.

  • wvangler

    Pretty fair article. I'd take the over on ejections for targeting...especially if we get any ACC refs.

    2 - Number of games 1/4 of the game attendance leaves before the game is decided only to regret it due to a comeback by either team.

    1 - Number of significant unexpected airport layover delays making it into some faint excuse for poor play by sports writers.

    38 - Number of times I hear the old guy behind me scream and foam at the mouth about why we went into shotgun on 4th and short.

    • tw eagle

      hey, I wasn't foaming at the mouth , that was from my beer . . .

  • Jay

    Great, fun article. Well done. I'll comment on the first three.

    Over 5.5 wins (6 or 7)

    Under 207 (hope I'm wrong)

    Over 78 receptions (tough one!)

  • Big Larry

    Good info Allan....Thanks!

    • Big John

      Not good article but great article. Your talent and thinking shows that you are ahead of the game.

  • Michael

    Pertaining to the all-gold uniforms -- you do realize that the OSU game is a gold rush, right?

    • Jonathan in Eglon

      Agreed, I hate the all yellow although the new unis may help some. By the way, what ever happened to the pro-combat uniforms? I was hoping they would stick around and maybe even develop some diferent styles.

    • ShinnstonGuy

      Yes, but it is possible that someone will come to their senses and at least wear blue pants with the gold tops. The all white is going to be hideous as well. On a plane ride last week I watched a 15 minute version of the Sugar Bowl. Now those were the classy uniforms that should still be worn today...white tops and blue bottoms!