2014 West Virginia Mountaineers Team Preview

Team Info
West Virginia Mountaineers
Head Coach: Dana Holgorsen
2013 record: 4-8 overall, 2-7 Big 12
2013 Bowl result: None
2014 returning starters: 6 offense, 7 defense

Betting Info
Odds to win 2015 College Football  Championship game: 300/1
Odds to win 2014 Big 12 title: 66/1
Regular season wins: under 4.5 -125 / over 4.5 -105
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West Virginia looks to improve on a 4-8 season in 2013.

West Virginia looks to improve on a 4-8 season in 2013.

It hasn’t been a very smooth transition so far for the West Virginia Mountaineers in their two years in the Big 12 after many years in the Big East. Last year, the Mountaineers had a forgettable 4-8 season. The lone highlight was a 30-21 upset at home over Oklahoma State.

Now, the Mountaineers return 13 starters. There has to be some improvement or coach Dana Holgorsen could be out of a job. Although the West Virginia Athletic director has given Holgorsen a vote of confidence regardless of what the Mountaineers do this season.

Offense

Last season, the West Virginia offense averaged 411 yards and 26.3 points per game. That might work in some conferences, but not in the Big 12 where most teams routinely average over 30 points a game. The big problems were on  third downs and in the red zone, where the Mountaineers ranked near the bottom nationally in both categories.

Former Florida State quarterback was named the starter for West Virginia. He was instrumental in the upset win over Oklahoma State, but injured his shoulder in that game and struggled for the rest of the season. He missed spring practice with the injury but has been cleared for fall camp. If Trickett isn’t healthy, then JUCO transfer Skyler Howard or four star recruit William Crest could step in. Trickett completed 52.8% of his passes for 1,605 yards with 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He split the snaps with Paul Millard and Ford Childress last season. Millard is still with the program and threw for 1,119 yards with 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.

The Mountaineers must replace leading rusher Charles Sims who is now with Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Still, West Virginia returns talented running backs Dreamius Smith (103 carries, 494 yards and 5 touchdowns) and Wendell Smallwood (39 carries, 221 yards, and a touchdown, along with 11 catches.) Smallwood’s status is up in the air after an arrest for witness intimidation.  Pitt transfer Rushel Shell will also get a lot of carries.

The top four receivers are back for the Mountaineers. Mario Alford had 27 catches, 552 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kevin White had 35 catches, 507 yards and 5 touchdowns. Daikel Shorts had 45 catches, 495 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ronald Carswell had 20 catches, 413 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Guards Quinton Spain and Mark Glowinski anchor the offensive line.

Defense 

West Virginia was terrible on defense in 2013 allowing 473 yards and 33 points per game last season. Seven starters return from that unit, but they must play much better or this will be another long season in Morgantown. New defensive coordinator Tony Gibson installed a 3-4 system.

The defensive line has a solid six man rotation led by sophomore Christian Brown who can play on both the inside or outside.

Linebacker Brandon Golson will be a star and can also play at defensive end if needed.

The biggest improvement might be in the secondary where West Virginia added a lot of athleticism. Cornerback Daryl Worley and safety Karl Joseph will anchor the secondary alongside a deep group of newcomers.

Special Teams 

Kicker Josh Lambert made 17 of 23 field goals last season, and looked very good in spring practice. Punter Nick O’Toole also returns after averaging 44 yards per punt last season. Alford will handle kick and punt returns. West Virginia must improve their kick coverage as they were among the worst in the country last year.

Schedule

West Virginia opens with a brutal stretch that includes Alabama in Atlanta, at Maryland and home against Oklahoma. Even a home game against Towson is no picnic as the Tigers were the FCS runner-ups last season. The Mountaineers have other home conference games  against Kansas, Baylor, TCU, and Kansas State. WVU travels to Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Texas and Iowa State. I don’t see more than 5 wins for this team, especially with such a difficult schedule.

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Posted by on Jul 28 2014. Filed under College Football, Headlines. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

4 Comments for “2014 West Virginia Mountaineers Team Preview”

  1. J. Jacobs

    Oh! Yea if little faith.

    Eight wins minimum this year!!!

  2. Stephen W

    WVU wins 8 and goes to the Champs Bowl in Tampa…. Start the season 2-2 .. split middle 6 …. 5-5. Win last 2 & bowl game …. 8-5. On a roll into 2015

  3. Ken Langston

    It is good to hear from so many passionate Mountaineer fans.

  4. Marucs Allen

    I really like parts of the team this year! Our RB’s our deadly, and might be the best position group in the BIG 12. We have a great secondary, and our receivers are very solid!

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