#19 West Virginia Football 2012 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers

Overall Rank # 19
#4 Big 12 Conference  
West Virginia Football 2012 Team Preview
West Virginia Team Page


The Mountaineers ended their season with a bang and proved that a national power can still come out of the Big East conference as they trampled Clemson in the Orange Bowl. It was a perfect way to end Dana Holgorsen’s first year as head coach and their last game in the Big East conference, as after the season they joined the mighty Big 12.

2011 Record: (10-3 Overall, 5-2 Conference)  
2011 Bowl: Orange Bowl VS Clemson (W 70-33)   
Coach: Dana Holgorsen (10-3 at West Virginia, 10-3 Overall)   
Offensive Coordinator: Shannon Dawson
Defensive Coordinator: Joe DeForest   

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Dustin Garrison, RB, 777 yards
Passing: Geno Smith, QB, 4,385 yards
Receiving: Stedman Bailey, WR, 1,279 yards
Tackles:  Terence Garvin, DB, 43
Sacks: Terrence Garvin, DB, 3.5
Interceptions: Terrence Garvin, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees:  RB Shawne Alston, RB Tavon Austin, RB Andrew Buie, WR Ivan Mccartney, DL Will Clarke, LB Josh Francis

Key Losses: DL Bruce Irvin, DB Keith Tandy, LB Najee Goode, WR Devon Brown  

The Mountaineers have a ton of team speed and they use that speed to burn opponents on a weekly basis. This sizzling passing attack torched teams for nearly 350 yards per game. With signal caller Geno Smith returning for his senior campaign, this assault looks as deadly as ever. They are returning their most dangerous pass catchers as well, adding to the explosive concoction that is the Mountaineers offense.  This offense fits right into the pass happy Big 12 conference and will be the catalyst to success in their inaugural season.  This team could have significant improvement in its  offense if sophomore running back Dustin Garrison is ready to take his game to the next level and have a breakout season after a solid freshman season. This would give this unit a better balance and make it easier on their ultra talented passing game to be able to move the ball up and down the field.

With the mighty offense came a softer defense. Although they were marginal at stopping the pass, they were weak against the run and it cost them at times last year. The defense needs to improve in all areas, but particular against the run, if they want to be an elite team. It will be difficult to improve when they lost surprise first round draft selection, Bruce Irvin, who was their leading sack artist and tackle to the NFL. The unit also allowed over 26 points per game, 61st in the nation. With a defense that gives up that many points per game it will be difficult to contend in the Big 12 with the football giants Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State looming. Improving the defense will be the top priority for the Mountaineers who are looking to do damage and make a statement in their first year in the Big 12.

The Bottom Line:
With the move from the Big East to the Big 12, West Virginia certainly shakes up the landscape of football.  It undoubtedly sets up for some great games with the offensive firepower of Oklahoma, Texas, and Oklahoma State. They add a new wrinkle into an already intriguing conference and are looking to make a splash. The path is there but it will be difficult to maneuver and West Virginia will find themselves in lots of unfamiliar territory.  This team will certainly be in the running for a chance to play in the Big 12 championship.

Projected Bowl: Alamo Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 122.69 (92th in the nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 346.85 (6, 1)
Total Offense: 469.54 (15, 1)
Scoring Offense: 37.62 (13, 1)
Rushing Defense: 144.77 (55, 8)
Pass Defense: 203.46 (35, 2)
Total Defense: 348.23 (33, 3)
Scoring Defense: 26.77 (61, 7)
Turnover Margin: .08 (49, 6)  
Sacks: 2.31 (29, 8)  
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (65, 3)

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#87 Geno Smith

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#184 Deontay McManus