Preview 2019: Previewing and looking ahead to the West Virginia Mountaineers season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– West Virginia Previews 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
2018 Record: 8-4 overall, 6-3 in Big 12
Head Coach: Neal Brown, 1st year
5. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE WEST VIRGINIA OFFENSE
– Will Grier is gone, David Sills is done, and Dana Holgorsen is off to Houston, but new head coach Neal Brown is a big-time offensive coach who gets back five regular starters and enough firepower to keep it all going. Replacing Grier isn’t going to be a lock, but …
– The Mountaineers might have just hit another quarterback home run transfer. Grier worked out well after coming in from Florida, and former Oklahoma Sooner Austin Kendall is another potential star. It’s not blowing smoke that Kendall was neck-and-neck with that Kyler Murray guy for the starting job coming out of spring ball last year, but obviously the future Arizona Cardinal prevailed on the way to a historic season.
He’s a sharp, accurate passer, but he’s still in a wee bit of a battle with former Miami Hurricane Jack Allison, who stepped in for Grier in the bowl game and completed just 17-of-35 passes for 277 yards with a. pick in the loss to Syracuse.
– As if losing Sills wasn’t bad enough, Gary Jennings is gone after catching 917 yards worth of passes and 13 touchdowns, and third-leading receiver Marcus Simms has entered the transfer portal. Throw in the graduation of TE Trevon Wesco, and the top four receivers – at least in terms of yards – are gone.
6-2, 201-pound junior TJ Simmons is back after catching 28 passes for 341 yards and a score. He can work inside or out, and now it’s going to be a fight to come up with the pieces to fill in around him.
Redshirt freshman Sam James is a speedster who’ll find a role somewhere on the outside, and 5-6, 165-pound junior Tevin Bush is coming off a 14-grab season. If his banged up shoulder is fine, 6-5, 246-pound junior Jovani Haskins will be the main man at tight end.
– Running back is the offense’s deepest position, at least early on. Senior Kennedy McCoy is back after leading the team with 802 yards and eight scores, but he’s not alone with senior Martell Pettaway a 623-yard, six score rusher averaging over six yards per carry. There’s enough overall depth to come up with a nice rotation to take the pressure off Kendall early on.
– The starting five on the offensive front is fine with four of the five starters returning from the bowl game, but the depth isn’t quite there. All-star left tackle Yodny Cajuste is gone, but 6-7, 312-pound senior Colton McKivitz is a decent option to fill in at one spot, and 6-4, 301-pound senior Kelby Wickline will likely slide on in on the right side.
The guards are set, led by 355-pound junior Michael Brown, but with Matt Jones transferring, the center spot is a wee bit of a question mark with 298-pound versatile junior Chase Behrndt getting a long look.