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2008 Big East Insider Spring Questions
West Virginia QB Pat White
West Virginia QB Pat White
Posted Mar 5, 2008

With spring ball kicking in, here are some of the Big East's key questions answered by the inside sources, the Scout publishers.


2008 Spring Preview

Key Questions Answered

- 2008 Big East Spring Analysis

Is this the year all the good recruiting classes will finally come together? What’s missing? What’s keeping this team from being a true Big East contender?

From Dale Grdnic,

I don't know if anything is still missing from Pitt, but certainly QB and OL are still areas of concern. The most experienced QB was a freshman last fall, Pat Bostick, and the Panthers didn't really have a passing game with him. They brought in JC transfer Greg Cross, and he provides more athleticism at the position.

The play of the OL will be the key, I believe, and another JC kid -- center Robb Houser -- will need to start immediately and upgrade the play from last season. Houser and Cross are enrolled now and will participate this spring. A freshman, first year or redshirt, most likely will start at one tackle spot as well since Pitt lost two to graduation, as well as the center. This area was the hardest hit.
Defensively, I believe Pitt will rank among the nation's best, like last season in the final handful of games, and has a chance to be dominant with a talented group of DL and LB corps returning intact.
Pitt was competitive last season, losing a lot of close games, but could turn the corner finally this season. I believe the recruiting success finally will pay off in wins, but it obviously depends on the QB situation.

How much is being changed at West Virginia with the new coaching staff, and will even more of the offense be put on Pat White? More importantly, how much have all the outside distractions affected the team?

From Kevin Kinder,

Look for tweaks and additions, rather than a major overhaul, as West Virginia goes through spring practice. New offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen will bring some of his playbook from Wake Forest to WVU, which features more motion and runs from different angles than the conventional spread offense. White will still be the focal point of the offense, but care will be taken not to beat up the Heisman candidate, which is what happened during the previous two seasons. Those factors contributed heavily to the losses in 2006 and 2007, and head coach Bill Stewart is adamant that won't happen again. The call for more passing will also be heard, but it remains to be seen whether the receivers can actually do anything about it. The thinking on the coaching staff is that, given the chance, the passing game will develop.
Defensively, the story will be the same. WVU will continue to run its base 3-3-5 look, but more diversity will likely be seen in several other alignments. With former defensive coordinators (Steve Dunlap and David Lockwood) joining the staff, there certainly won't be any shortage of ideas for doing so. Coordinator Jeff Casteel, who engineered a remarkable turnaround on the defense in 2007, will be surrounded by talent in the staff.
The "other" story, that of Rich Rodriguez' departure and his bitter ramblings, has created much more consternation among drive-by media (such as ESPN) than it has on the team itself. The players shut out all the harping in producing the stunning Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma, and appears to be very relaxed during winter workouts. Stewart has done a very good job in circling the wagons in-house and keeping his team focused on its own business and the things it can control -- and that's something no amount of P.R releases or "bombshell" announcements from the Rodriguez camp can shake.