It’s almost here! Mountaineer football will be underway on September 5th when WVU takes on Georgia Southern. There have been a lot of questions surrounding the West Virginia football team since the loss of several key players from last year’s impressive season. However, after rigorous training and some players stepping into the vacant leadership roles, this year is looking to be a good season for our West Virginia Mountaineers.
Nothing lifts Mountaineer spirits more than seeing a confident Dana Holgorsen on media day. This past Tuesday, Holgorsen opened by explaining that he, his coaching staff, and his team are focused for the upcoming game against Georgia Southern – stating that the next week of practice will be a “mock game week” in order to get an idea of what they need to do against Georgia Southern. Though there is no chance of exactly replicating Georgia Southern’s explosive triple-option offense, Holgorsen is confident his scout team has studied the tapes enough to give his starting line-up an idea of what they’ll be facing on opening game day.
A bit of good news for the WVU football team – Georgia Southern’s starting QB will be out for the September 5th game. The bad news? Holgorsen was quick to point out on media day that Southern’s second QB, Favian Upshaw, is more than capable of leading his team as he did last year. Holgorsen said Upshaw would surely “run that offense as good as he did last year, more than likely better than last year.” As for our starting QB, Skylar Howard, there have been doubts that he will be an effective quarterback for the Mountaineers – based on his size, speed, and skill. However, Holgorsen and the rest of the Mountaineers back Howard, saying that he is ready to prove everyone wrong.
Defensively, West Virginia has a lot to work on despite their reported outstanding defense. The game on September 5th will give everyone an idea of exactly how solid the Mountaineer defense is, and will help players understand where they still need some extra work for the rest of the season. Sophomore Safety Dravon Askew-Henry said it best, “I’m kind of glad we get to open up with them, because it will make everybody play better […] I think we will be alright.” Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator, Tony Gibson, hopes his players can be patient enough to properly defend the Georgia Southern offense, which contradicts the Mountaineer “quick attack” style usually practiced.
Overall, the Mountaineers have a lot of things that work in their favor now compared to what was available to them in the past offensively. On the ability and leadership of Howard, redshirt senior tight end/full back Cody Clay explained that Howards “mobility opens up a lot of stuff for us in terms of misdirection” – which makes blocking a little easier when the opposing team isn’t sure if Howard is going to run or throw. Typically in college football, a team with so many younger guys is questionable as far as performance because of the leap between high school and college football – longer practices, tougher opponents, and new teammates. Though when junior wide receiver Daikiel Shorts Jr. was asked about freshman WRs Jovon Durante and Gary Jennings, Shorts was happy to sing their praises.
The rest of Mountaineer Nation thinks their favorite college team will be alright as well. What are your thoughts on the upcoming game? Do the Mountaineers have what it takes to get the win and start the season with a loud bang? Let us know in the comments…
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