TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Forecasting WVU: Where the Mountaineers stand after spring practices

Getty Images - West Virginia's Shaq Rowell reacts after making a tackle in the first half against Kansas State on Oct. 20, 2012, in Morgantown, W.Va.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>West Virginia's Shaq Rowell reacts after making a tackle in the first half against Kansas State on Oct. 20, 2012, in Morgantown, W.Va.
Getty Images - West Virginia's Karl Joseph pumps up the crowd against Baylor on Setp. 29, 2012, in Morgantown, W.Va.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>West Virginia's Karl Joseph pumps up the crowd against Baylor on Setp. 29, 2012, in Morgantown, W.Va.
Getty Images - West Virginia's Pat Eger reacts against Clemson during the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4, 2012, in Miami.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>West Virginia's Pat Eger reacts against Clemson during the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4, 2012, in Miami.
Getty Images - West Virginia's Isaiah Bruce returns a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter against Marshall on Sept. 1, 2012, in Morgantown, W.Va.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>West Virginia's Isaiah Bruce returns a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter against Marshall on Sept. 1, 2012, in Morgantown, W.Va.
Getty Images - West Virginia's Andrew Buie runs the ball against Texas on Oct. 6, 2012, in Austin, Texas.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>West Virginia's Andrew Buie runs the ball against Texas on Oct. 6, 2012, in Austin, Texas.
AP - West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen looks on along the sidelines against Kansas on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Morgantown, W.Va.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen looks on along the sidelines  against Kansas on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Morgantown, W.Va.

College Football Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, May 2, 2013, 11:36 p.m.
 

A position-by-position breakdown of how the West Virginia football team looks after spring practices:

QUARTERBACK

Junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress each took 50 percent of the reps in the spring; however, neither player emerged as the starter. Millard's advantage over Childress is experience – he appeared in 11 games over two seasons. Otherwise, the two quarterbacks appear to be even. In the case of a tie between a junior and redshirt freshman, coach Dana Holgorsen may be inclined to lean toward Millard.

RUNNING BACK

Until proven otherwise, junior Andrew Buie, who led the team in rushing last season, is the No. 1 running back. He didn't play in the Gold-Blue game, permitting the coaching staff to get a good look at junior Dustin Garrison and newcomers Dreamius Smith and Wendell Smallwood. Garrison, who recorded a 200-yard rushing game as a freshman, is regaining the burst he lost following knee surgery a year ago. Smith, a junior college transfer, has good size to go along with sprinter's speed. Smallwood shows potential but is learning the college game. Redshirt sophomore Cody Clay plays the role of blocking back.

OFFENSIVE LINE

What was a team strength has become a work in progress, with several new players stepping into key roles. Starters include redshirt junior Quinton Spain and redshirt senior Curtis Feight at tackle, and redshirt senior Pat Eger of Thomas Jefferson at center. All three played last season, with Eger moving over from tackle. The starting guards are both new – redshirt sophomore Marquis Lucas and redshirt junior Mark Glowinski. Junior college center Stone Undrewood arrives this summer.

WIDE RECEIVER

Attempting to replace the two most prolific receivers in school history will be an arduous task. Sophomore Jordan Thompson is the only known quantity, but he was a disappointment in 2012. Thompson scored three touchdowns in the spring game. Junior college transfer Kevin White has exciting potential but is still learning the offense. Junior Connor Arlia, redshirt sophomore K.J. Myers, redshirt freshman Devonte Mathis will be given every opportunity to carve out playing time, along with newcomers Shelton Gibson and Ronald Carswell.

DEFENSIVE LINE

A year ago, defensive line was a weak spot. Now it's considered a team strength. Redshirt senior defensive end Will Clarke (Allderdice) and redshirt senior nose tackle Shaq Rowell weren't to blame for the defense's struggles last season. Developing depth on the defensive line is important against Big 12 offenses, so look for the emergence of sophomore Eric Kinsey, redshirt sophomore Kyle Rose, sophomore Christian Brown and redshirt freshman Noble Nwachoku. Prize junior college recruit Dontrill Hyman could make an immediate impact.

LINEBACKER

Sophomore Isaiah Bruce amassed 95 tackles (6.5 tackles for losses) and two interceptions as a first-year starter. He's backed up by senior Doug Rigg, who also played well last season. Redshirt sophomore Nick Kwiatkoski (Bethel Park), redshirt senior Dozie Ezemma and redshirt junior West Tonkery are listed as the other starters. Junior college standout D'vante Henry, recruited for his ability to pressure the quarterback, is one to watch.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Cornerbacks Brodrick Jenkins (redshirt senior) and Nana Kyeremeh (sophomore) have a better understanding of the defense, which ranked among the worst in college football against the pass. Sophomore safety Karl Joseph , who led the team in tackles, was outstanding against the pass and run. Redshirt senior Darwin cook provides more stability on the back line of the defense.

KICKING

Redshirt freshman Josh Lambert kicked in the Gold-Blue game, making field goals of 39 and 47 yards while missing attempts of 41 and 48 yards. Lambert made all three extra points. When junior college standout Nick O'Toole arrives, he is expected to handle the punting duties, although redshirt junior Michael Molinari also has game experience.

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jharris@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JHarris_Trib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read WVU

  1. Big 12 adds wrestling, gymnastics affiliate members
  2. WVU men’s basketball coach Huggins not pleased with NCAA rule changes
  3. WVU adds ex-Marshall forward to men’s basketball roster