Does WVU Have the Best Lineup to Beat Virginia Tech
A review of the WVU depth chart for their match up with Virginia Tech.
West Virginia football released their week one depth chart for their match up with Virginia Tech, here is my analysis.
Offense: For the most part everything fell in place the way many thought it would. Up front on the offensive line, with no surprise Kyle Bosch was penciled in at his usual spot of left guard. Bosch is expected to have a great year after being named to the Outland Trophy preseason watch list. His counterpart on the left side at left tackle: Yondy Cajuste. Cajuste is bouncing back from a season-ending knee injury, but all reports have been positive, so look for him to sure up the left side of the line along side Bosch.
At right guard Grant Lingafelter, the redshirt Senior has played in 22 career games, and looks to be a part of a stable inside. Next to him at right tackle will be to some mountaineer fans surprise redshirt sophomore Colton McKivitz . McKivitz suffered an injury early in camp, and it was anticipated early on that the Ohio native would miss week one.
Holding down the center of the line at 6-2 318 pounds will be redshirt sophomore Matt Jones. Talk about bulky in the middle. Will Grier should feel protected behind an offensive line averaging at 307 pounds.
No surprise at quarterback, but it is the moment of truth for transfer Will Grier.
Behind Grier at fullback is Elijah Wellman. Wellman will be used primarily as a fullback and checkdown. Also look for Wellman to add extra pass protection. At running back will be preseason All-Big 12 running back Justin Crawford. I expect Coach Dana Holgorsen and Jake Spavital to put the game on this young man’s back, as he features some formidable backups in Kennedy McKoy, Martell Pettaway and Tevin Bush.
On the outside at wide receiver you have Ka’Raun White and David Sills V who both stand above 6-1. Backing them up will be Druw Bowen and Ricky Rogers. In the slot at inside receiver will be Gary Jennings Jr., who many on the coaching staff are hoping becomes a deep threat for the Mountaineers.
Defense: Pretty much the same as offense, not many surprises.
It was no secret defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, would have to replace three starters. Now we have them. At nose tackle Xavier Pegues, on the ends Reese Donahue and Adam Shuler II, who is poised to have a breakout year.
The linebacker position took a hit when it lost returning starter David Long. But Long’s WILL side linebacker position will be covered by redshirt freshman Dylan Tonkery. Tonkery received great praise throughout camp as he improved physically and mentally for his growth in just one year. At the SAM side linebacker position senior Xavier Preston will look to build off of a productive junior season. In the middle at MIKE will be Al Rasheed-Benton. No one on the Mountaineers is more excited for the season than this guy. Just go check out his Big 12 media day footage. Talk about pumped.
Moving to the secondary, in Tony Gibson’s 3-3-5 defense. On the left side redshirt sophomore cornerback Hakeem Bailey will work to replace where Rasual Douglass once was backed up by senior Elijah Battle. On the right side senior cornerback Mike Daniels Jr. will be the starting corner. The back end of the secondary looks pretty familiar as well. SPUR safety will be covered by senior Kyzir White, who looks to impress and build on a successful junior season. At Free/Falcon safety redshirt junior Dravon Askew-Henry returns to his familiar position. To round out the defense redshirt junior Toyus Avery returns to cover the BANDIT safety position.
Special Teams: Mike Molina returns as the field goal kicker with punter/holder Bill Kinney. The long snapper for both punt and field goal will be Nick Meadows backed up by Rex Sunahara. Kickoff will be handled by Evan Staley backed by Luke Hogan. With the want for more production on kick return and punt return, Jennings returns to the position, but not without a close No. 2. On punt return Jennings will be backed by Sills and on kick return by Askew-Henry.