MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — If there was any doubt regarding Wendell Smallwood’s potential value to the West Virginia offense, running backs coach JaJuan Seider erased it Saturday.
“Wendell, he can do everything that Charles (Sims) did,” Seider said.
What Sims did last year was lead the Big 12 with 1,549 yards from scrimmage. He was one of four 1,000-yard rushers in the conference, led the league’s running backs with 45 catches and ranked second with 14 touchdowns. Sims posed a threat in the backfield and lining up in the slot, the brand of versatility Smallwood affords West Virginia this season.
“A guy like Wendell can be on the field the whole game until he’s tired,” Seider said.
Junior Andrew Buie, after catching 41 passes during his first two seasons, also can transition to inside receiver—a key for WVU to shift sets on the fly without changing personnel groups. Seider said coaches are serious about splitting bigger tailbacks Dreamius Smith and Rushel Shell out wide.
“(Friday) they had a couple balls downfield that were deep … which is really scary because you could have 230-pound guys running down the middle of the field on a linebacker,” Seider said.
With five veteran returnees, and four-star recruit Dontae Thomas-Williams acclimating to the system, the Mountaineers’ running backs could be scary on many fronts.
“They’re pissed off, and it’s a good thing,” Seider said. “The guys are really getting after it right now.”