2008 CFN West
Virginia Preview |
2008 WVU Offense Preview
2008 WVU Defense Preview
2008 WVU Depth Chart
2007 West Virginia Preview |
2006 CFN West Virginia Preview
Interested in blogging
about Big East football?
Head coach: Bill Stewart
1st year: 1-0
3rd year overall: 8-25
Off: 19, Def. 20, ST: 3
Lettermen Lost: 22
Ten Best WVU Players
2. OT Ryan Stancheck, Sr.
3. RB Noel Devine, Soph.
4. LB Reed Williams, Sr.
5. LB Mortty Ivy, Sr.
6. G Greg Isdaner, Jr.
7. C Mike Dent, Sr.
8. DT Scooter Berry, Soph.
9. P/K Pat McAfee, Sr.
10. S Quinton Andrews, Jr.
CFN Prediction: 10-2
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 at East Carolina
Sept. 13 OPEN DATE
Sept. 18 at Colorado
Sept. 27 Marshall
Oct. 4 Rutgers
Oct. 11 Syracuse
Oct. 18 OPEN DATE
Oct. 23 Auburn
Nov. 1 at Connecticut
Nov. 8 Cincinnati
Nov. 15 OPEN DATE
Nov. 22 at Louisville
Nov. 28 at Pitt
Dec. 6 South Florida
CFN Prediction: 11-1
2007 Record: 10-3
at South Florida
Rutgers W 31-3
Jan. 2 Oklahoma W 48-28
tumultuous resignation of Rich Rodriguez last December marked an end of
an era in Morgantown, but did it mark the end of the good times at West
Virginia? New head coach Bill Stewart is determined to make sure the
fun keeps on rolling.
Initially, Stewart wasn’t even on AD Ed Pastilong’s short list of
replacements for Rodriguez, but then the kids starting speaking up and
the Mountaineers rolled over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. And voila, a
head coach was born at the age of 55. While Stewart has done well in
the early going, assembling a nice staff of coaches and keeping most of
the recruiting class intact, he can’t allow the bowl win to become a
Despite all of the changes that have taken place since the end of the
regular season, West Virginia remains hopeful for one main reason: QB
Patrick White still has a year of eligibility left. While the
Mountaineers have endured severe hits at the skill positions and on the
defensive line, White is so electrifying he can transcend many of the
problems that the program will face. Sure, he’ll get help from
jackrabbits Noel Devine and Jock Sanders, but now more than ever, he’ll
be carrying the school on his pads. Prone to getting nicked up, it’s
non-negotiable that White is available for all 13 games. On defense,
the Mounties will have a hard time matching last year’s sterling
results, largely because of the departures of their two best linemen,
Keilen Dykes and Johnny Dingle.
West Virginia remains the class of the Big East, but that’s no longer
enough for a program that’s been on the fringe of national title
contention the last couple of years. Stewart and his assistants need to
keep the Mountaineers in the national discussion, or else the
unflattering comparisons to Coach Rod will become inevitable. It won’t
be easy, considering the inexperience of the head coach and the top
producers that must be replaced.
What to watch for on offense: Even after rushing for 1,335 yards,
passing for 1,724 yards, and accounting for 28 touchdowns, the
Mountaineers might need more from QB Patrick White this season. Without
playmakers Steve Slaton, Owen Schmitt, and Darius Reynaud, who caught 12
touchdown passes, West Virginia is searching for reliable complements to
its dynamic quarterback. The most likely candidate to step up is RB
Noel Devine, who erupted for 627 yards and six touchdowns on only 73
carries as a rookie. The offensive line, always a constant in
Morgantown, returns five starters and will be among the best units in
What to watch for on defense: Coordinator Jeff Casteel was retained,
good news considering how well the Mountaineers performed in 2007. The
defense was air-tight in all facets, allowing just 300 yards and 18
points a game, while finishing ninth nationally in turnover margin.
Maintaining that level of play, however, is about to get tougher. Even
without Marc Magro, the linebackers will be fine, but the defensive line
must be rebuilt, and there’s a depth issue in the secondary. While
Casteel will continue to lean on undersized athletes that fly to the
ball, he’s going to need help from a few newcomers and redshirt
The team will be far better if… Devine is able to handle the load as
an every down back. Although Steve Slaton will certainly be missed, his
production really tailed off last season, and injuries always seemed to
be an issue. West Virginia believes it might do better with Devine
taking carries, provided he can withstand the punishment that comes with
20 or 25 carries a game. A game-changer when he gets in space, he’s
also only 5-8 and 170 pounds, a big concern if he becomes the go-to guy
out of the backfield.
The schedule looks harder than it actually should be. The Big East slate
isn't bad early and gets tough late with road trips to Louisville and
Pitt in the span of six days, but remember, those two didn't go to a
bowl last year. South Florida comes to Morgantown on December 6th; a
perfect time to catch the warm-weather team. After a warm-up against
Villanova to kick things off, the non-conference schedule gets nasty the
rest of the way with trips to East Carolina and Colorado along with the
mid-season showdown against Auburn. Win those three and a national title
shot will likely be there for the taking.
Best offensive player:
QB Pat White. No matter what happens in 2008, White will go down as one
of the greatest to ever wear the old gold and blue. Virtually
unstoppable when he gets outside the tackles, he’s an open field blur
that’s rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of the last two
seasons. More impressive, he continues to grow as a passer, finishing a
crisp 29th in the country in passing efficiency, while
throwing for a career-high 14 touchdowns and 1,724 yards.
Best defensive player: LB Mortty Ivy. Ivy came out of nowhere as a
junior to become a perfect fit in Jeff Casteel’s fast, attacking
defense. As a first-time regular on the outside, he had 89 tackles, 11
tackles for loss, and six sacks. At 6-3 and 235 pounds, he’s
instinctive, accelerates quickly to the ball, and explodes on impact. A
bit of an unknown outside the Big East, Ivy is poised for substantially
more recognition in his final season.
Key players to a successful season: The defensive line. The offense
will eventually be fine. The defense, on the other hand, could be a
work-in-progress. Part of West Virginia’s defensive success a year ago
was attributable to the pressure created by DE Johnny Dingle and DT
Keilen Dykes. Both are headed to the NFL, leaving big holes that must
be filled by unproven players, such as Zac Cooper, Larry Ford, and Chris
Neild. If this group can’t get penetration, a suspect secondary will be
The season will be a success if ...West Virginia doesn’t regress
from a year ago. Basically, what that means is an outright Big East
championship and another BCS bowl victory. The Mountaineers can’t give
up any ground in their first campaign without Rich Rodriguez, especially
since this is their final season with Pat White under center.
Oct. 23 vs. Auburn. Are the Mountaineers still one of the nation’s top
10 teams? We’ll all learn the answer to that question when the Tigers
visit Morgantown for an intriguing Thursday night match up on national
television. West Virginia will also learn plenty about itself before
venturing into the teeth of a tough second half of the schedule.
2007 Fun Stats
- Rushing touchdowns: WVU 49 – Opponents 13
- Third down conversions: WVU 83 of 173 (48%) – Opponents 71 of 197
- First half scoring: WVU 250 – Opponents 112