WVU is under pressure
So, with the beginning of training camp just weeks away, which unit (offense, defense, special teams) has the most pressure on it as the Mountaineers from West Virginia prepare for Year Two in the Big 12 Conference?
The losses on offense and special teams have been well documented while the defense is coming off one of its worst-ever performances, allowing 38.1 points and 472.5 yards per game.
However, ask the players which unit has the most pressure and they will tell you all of them.
“I can’t say for the defense, but on my side of the ball, the running backs definitely have a lot of pressure on them,” former George Washington all-state performer Cody Clay said. “Our scheme may not be as impressive as last year so we (the running backs) know that we have got to step it up.”
Fortunately, the tools appear to be present to make the running game go with the return of Andrew Buie, and Dustin Garrison as well as the addition of junior college transfer Dreamius Smith and former University of Houston standout Charles Sims.
Unfortunately, the jury is still out when it comes to the other two sides (I wish coaches understood that a ball doesn’t have sides) of the football.
The defense will return some of its top playmakers of a year ago – Isaiah Bruce, Karl Joseph, Will Clarke – but it will still be dominated by youth. The same youth that was the primary reason why the prevent unit surrendered so many big plays, many coming at the wrong time.
“We were trying, for sure,” linebacker Jared Barber said. “We were trying to make plays, but the discipline wasn’t there.
“That’s the bottom line. We’d line up wrong, miss assignments, and give up big plays like the one at the end of the TCU game.
“But, I wouldn’t say that there is pressure. I’d say that we definitely understand that, after what happened last year, how bad we were last year, that we let the state of West Virginia down and all of its fans.”
Then, there is the kicking game.
Gone is Tyler Bitancurt, who had as many low moments in the old gold and blue uniform as he did high. Former Parkersburg South standout Michael Molinari looks to be atop the depth chart as the team’s punter and kickoff specialist heading into fall practice while Texas-native Josh Lambert came out of the spring as the team’s No. 1 placekicker.
Both, however, will receive more competition next month as Dana Holgorsen and his staff have brought in several other prospects for the jobs.
Still, which unit will have the most pressure?
“I think it’s the team as a whole,” sophomore defensive back Karl Joseph said. “Because nobody thinks we are going to be good as a team.
“It doesn’t matter if the defense or the offense is doing its job if the other unit isn’t.”