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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Comments

  • John

    Hey Herdman, even if huntington does when 10, 11 or more games, (yeah right), what will they get for it? The all-you-can-eat roast beef bowl? Maybe even the conference's best bowl, which is played on what December 10th or something? What is the point of even playing? No chance of being ranked. No chance of beating, or even playing a ranked team. No chance of even playing on New Years Day! NOOO chance of getting in the playoffs when it soon comes! And the best yet, NOOOOOOOOOO chance of EVER playing for THE National Championship! Fantastic, huntington may go thru this season and only lose $200,000, almost there! "We are...SMALL TIME."

  • Bagelknot

    Herdman. You keep thinking that when your team struggles to win 5 games in Conf. USA or whatever junior Conf. They're in.

  • tw eagle

    failure to communicate stems from cool hand luke . . .paul newman , marlon brando , and Robert mitchum - lately by kevin Costner in hatfields /mccoys has little to do with bravado and all to do with just being a West Virginian . . .not any PC crap , just what's
    right for the time and people . . .limiting comments sounds like the PC people from DC . . .its the Nazi gestapo from the 30's come back to haunt anything and everything
    people let slip from their mouths . . .ooohhh , don't say it again or i'll turn you in to the Nazis . . .what we have here is a Nazi being recognized for what he is . . .get lost moron , we 've had more than enough of your poison . . .

  • Imgrill

    What we have here is a failure to communicate Luke . Can we please limit comments to one per? So tired of the middle school bs, your not funny your not informed and hiding under different names makes you a coward.

  • tw eagle

    finally, ran out of ice , not out of jack thank God , time to sleep .. . . . don't need no
    super men , just men like spain and joseph
    and bruce to lead the young'uns to the promised land . . . don't need no mulligans . . .
    this team is for real .. . and we got a team . . .
    a winning team . . .hope they don't take as long as I did to realize what really matters . . .
    WE ARE THE WORLD . . .not the best ever , but a team that will grab national attention and feed a frenzy of Mountaineer passion . . .

  • bva24

    Brace yourselves for a long season. I can't see a team with no proven major college playmakers on offense (Houston doesn't count) and a horrid defense winning more than 4 or 5 games. Karl Joseph is a beast, but I can't envision much improvement from the defense. A year older doesn't always mean a year better - for example, see Miller, Pat.

    Holgs will get a mulligan this year, but he better win in 2014 or Ollie will run him out of town.

  • Jay

    Don't think Marshall would have be a tune up game this year. They will be better than they have been for years this season.

  • tw eagle

    Number of times I think of WVU , Jack Fleming and Bob Prince when I hear
    Queens 'radio ga ga '

    EVERYTIME

  • California Rob

    Where's the over under on the amount of teeth still present in the mouth of the average home game attendee?

    • tw eagle

      well , if you'll show up at Mountaineer Field for a football game to take a survey . . .i'll certainly be glad to give you the UNDER
      the stands , and then OVER the fence hillbilly
      survey . . .try not to lose too many teeth in
      the process . . .

  • Big John

    We will be 8-4 maybe 9-3

  • jlee

    One thing for sure, this team will not be a contender for anything this season. If we are lucky enough to get a bowl, it will be an embarrassment to even go to such a meaningless bowl.

  • Big John

    Mitch Vingle@Mitchvingle stated that Alford, Hyman and Goldson are ready to go stated that was told by Dana. Did not mention Howard or McDonald. Deems strange that a reporter in Charleston can find out before ones in Morgantown. Maybe wvMetro news is not interested in WVU?

  • big tom

    i cant believe that there are some people who try to compare us to LSU, OSU, or Alabama,,,you people must live in a black hole and don't follow college football.
    they don't rebuild , they just reload... we are still a cylic team who has to have time to rebuild,, we simply don't get the caliber recruits of those teams, never have , never will,, ,we have to take chances on players, and that's why some don't qualify each yr,,, that's just the way it is, and the way it'[s going to be for a long long long time

  • chris

    I like all the uniforms the gold ones are my favorite.

    • cutty77

      Glad you brought the New Ini's. CBS Sports had a poll about a month ago. 3 teams we all tied for first. Need i say more,but i will the other 2 were The Ducks/ Nike. The Cal.Bears/Nike,and look like WVU anyway. Yes WVU/Nike.

  • Jdlane

    Great article but why hate on the new unis??? I think they're kickAss. And I really believe any quarterback can thrive under Dana's offensive scheme. And many people are sleeping on some really good talent just because we lost three excellent talents to the nfl. It happens to teams like Alabama, LSU, Ohio State and so on every year, and they remain consistently among the top teams every year. It's really not illogical to envision a 9 or 10 win season