West Virginia Mountaineers Preview 2022: Offense
This is about to get really, really fun.
West Virginia’s offense was way too spotty. It averaged 371 yards and 25 points per game, didn’t do much of anything down the field with the passing attack, and there were way too many sacks allowed and there wasn’t enough of a push for the Big 12’s worst running game.
In comes new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell from USC, and joining in on the fun is JT Daniels – a massive recruit for USC who suffered a knee injury before transferring to Georgia.
Jarret Doege was good, but now he’s off to WKU with the addition of Daniels. The talent, the arm, and now the experience in the life of being a college quarterback are all there. Now he has to stay healthy.
Top receiver Winston Wright is gone, but Bryce Ford-Wheaton is back after catching 42 passes for 575 yards and three scores, and Sam James returns after making 42 grabs for 505 yards and five touchdowns. This might not be the most talented group in the Big 12, but it’s about to be turned loose.
The offensive line is full of all-star veterans – center Zach Frazier and guard Doug Nester are the best of the bunch – but again, there has to be more production. There’s WAY too much experience for this group to be mediocre – this is the year it’s been building to.
Leading rusher Leddie Brown is gone, but Tony Mathis is a veteran who ran for 312 yards, and Justin Johnson can move. There’s one big problem, though – no running back who ran for a touchdown last season is on the roster.
West Virginia Mountaineers Preview 2022: Defense
The defense was good enough.
It wasn’t a dominant force, and it wasn’t always strong when it had to be, but it was okay against the run, allowed 350 yards per game overall, and it was great at getting off the field.
This year this group will be … interesting, at least in the secondary.
Charles Woods is back at one corner after making 29 tackles and two picks, and around him as a whole slew of new guys from the transfer portal.
Head coach Neal Brown needed parts, and he got them with Hershey McLaurin (JUCO) and Marcis Floyd (Murray State) at safety, and Rashad Ajayi (Colorado State) and Wesley McCormick (James Madison) and corner. Fall camp is going to be a battle for spots.
The linebacking corps is also undergoing an overhaul, but it’s in strong shape with the addition of Jasir Cox from North Dakota State, Lee Kpogba from Syracuse for the middle, Tirek Austin-Cave from Miami around Lance Dixon on the weakside.
The line lost Akeem Mesidor to Miami, but Dante Stills is still one of the nation’s best interior pass rushers – it only seems like he’s been producing since the Don Nehlen era – and Tajik Alston is back at one end with Jared Bartlett returning on the other. This whole group is going to be strong.