WVU at Big 12 media day

The 10 head coaches as well as selected players from the football teams that make up the Big 12 Conference were in Dallas for two days this week meeting with the media and talking up the positives of their respective teams.

West Virginia University head coach Dana Holgorsen was among that group and, along with Will Clarke, Karl Joseph and Quinton Spain, spent the final day of the two-day event explaining why the Mountaineers should be considered a viable threat for the league’s title in 2013.

It may take a lot more than words to convince the other nine coaches, as well as Mountaineer fans, that this year’s edition of the old gold and blue can attain the success it enjoyed in their previous conference – the Big East.

The losses, especially on offense, are well documented.

No more Geno Smith. No more Tavon Austin, or Stedman Bailey or Shawne Alston or three interior linemen who proved to be the anchor of that unit in 2012.

Making it even harder to believe that the Mountaineers will compete for a title this fall is the return of a defense, that may not have been ranked the worst in the conference, but was definitely close to it after surrendering more than 38 points and nearly 500 yards per game.

Holgorsen’s player selection, however, may give an indication to what fans can expect when WVU opens the season at home against FCS member William and Mary.

Spain, along with Curtis Feigt, will be the key ingredients for a rebuilding offense that will use a strong stable of running backs – made even stronger with the addition of former University of Houston standout Charles Sims – to grind down defenses and give whoever the starting quarterback will be enough time to throw the football.

Then, there are Clarke and Joseph.

Clarke, a senior, has played in 29 career games and started 12 and teamed with fellow senior Shaq Rowell to give the Mountaineers a solid front wall to help stop, or at least slow down, opposing running attacks.

Joseph, perhaps the best returning player on the unit, will be counted on to be the glue that holds together a secondary that will be asked to stop nine teams in a conference that prides itself in leading the country in offensive production every season.

There is little doubt that both players have the talent to become stars for the defense, but will that be enough?

West Virginia’s success, or failure, in 2013 will depend on many factors. The biggest being the ability to make the transition from being known for its “Air Raid Attack” to one that must win the “blue collar way”.

* Mary Ostrowski: Wouldn’t want to end this column without adding my condolences to the Ostrowski family for the loss of Mary ‘O’ over the weekend.

There are very, very true legends in athletics. Mary Ostrowski was one.