It has felt like a majority of the media has written off the Mountaineers for the 2019 season. New coach, loss of talent and a difficult conference will make things tough in year one for Neal Brown, but it doesn’t mean they’re destined for failure.
During his interview at Big 12 Media Day, Neal Brown shed some light on what the offense will look like. To paraphrase, when asked if he would need to speed up/change his offense since his Texas Tech days, he said it would look a bit different. More of a focus on the running game because when looking at the best Big 12 teams over the years, the teams that can run win the close games. This is perfect for the returning players on the West Virginia roster.
The Mountaineers have one of the better left tackles in the country and a returning starter at right guard. The other three projected starters are all upperclassmen.
At running back, Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway bring talent and experience. A talented offensive line and gifted running backs are a great combo, but they also have TJ Simmons who can block people into the 200 section.
Another selling point will be the fact that the Big 12 just doesn’t play great defense. In 2018, four Big 12 schools finished in the top 50 in rush defense with one of the schools being West Virginia. Taking some air out of the ball and keeping the opposing offense off the field can definitely play into keeping a defense fresh and keeping the opposing, typically explosive offenses off the field.
Austin Kendall or Jack Allison won’t have to be lights out every week if the running game can carry the load. But if called upon, both were top 10 QB’s in the 2016 class.
Kendall is the likely favorite after transferring from Oklahoma but Neal Brown said he hasn’t named a starter yet. Due to his pedigree and recruiting history with Neal Brown while he was at Kentucky, Kendall is the safe pick for projected starter. But Fall practice is just around the corner and West Virginia will need all the reps they can get to work some kinks out. Luckily they open the season at home against James Madison.
Nobody expects West Virginia to go on a title run in 2019, but it won’t go so poorly as many project. ESPN has West Virginia as a favorite in two games in 2019. There was plenty of turnover, there was also one of the best hires and plenty of returning talent coming back this season.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Love all things college football and hate all things Michigan Wolverines