MORGANTOWN -So, is it the system or is it the player?
That is the question every Mountaineer fan is hoping to receive a positive answer to as they prepare to watch West Virginia University and third-year head coach Dana Holgorsen enter their second season of play in the Big 12 Conference.
"I think it is both," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said during Saturday's media day. "I mean, we've put a lot of emphasis on developing players.
"There's recruiting players -that's a huge emphasis. But, once we get them in, we put a big emphasis on developing them."
Fans saw the results of that recruitment and development last season when NFL picks Tavon Austin, Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey combined to put 'video-game-like' numbers up on scoreboards throughout the Mountaineers' new home conference.
"I think we've done a pretty decent job of doing that," Dawson continued. "That equates to scoring points and having a productive offense on the field.
"But, I don't know what to predict for this season. I'm not going to predict anything. If we average 25 points a game and win 10 or 11 games, I'll take that. I think everybody will."
But, just who will those players be in 2013?
Names like Clint Trickett, Ford Childress and Paul Millard continue to pop up as replacements for Smith, while the return of Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison as well as the addition of Dreamius Smith and Charles Sims have eased many minds surrounding the Mountaineers' running game this fall.
The depth chart becomes a bit more clouded at the receiving positions, however.
Ivan McCartney's heads a list of returnees that also includes K.J. Myers, Jordan Thompson and walk-on Connor Arlia. That has many concerned that the production coming from those positions may suffer a drastic drop.
A drop that will not be as drastic if incoming 'playmakers' Kevin White, Mario Alford, Ronald Carswell and Shelton Gibson live up to the recruitment hype.
So, who can Mountaineer fans expect to shine this season?
"I'm not going to answer that question," Dawson said. "I wouldn't answer that question for a couple of reasons.
"One, we are not in a situation right now where we are in a position to be throwing bones to someone. Because, we haven't done anything. The last thing I am going to do is say that this guy is going to be great.
"It's not fair to that guy. It's not fair to everybody else. There's nobody right now that I would stand up on a table and shout for.
"You know why I'm not going to answer that question. But, I appreciate the question."
And, WVU fans across the country will wait patiently until an answer is given or they see the result of that recruitment and development on the artificial surface at Mountaineer Field when WVU opens the season against William and Mary on Saturday, Aug. 31.
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