QB Geno Smith
9-4-11 MARSHALL (Sun.)
9-17-11 at Maryland
10-21-11 at Syracuse (Fri.)
10-29-11 at Rutgers
11-12-11 at Cincinnati
11-25-11 PITTSBURGH (Fri.)
12-1-11 at South Florida (Thur.)
Coach: Bill Stewart
28-12, 4 years

2010 Statistics

2010 RESULTS: 9-4
at Marshall WON 24-21 (OT)
at Louisiana State LOST 14-20
UNLV WON 49-10
at Connecticut LOST 13-16 (OT)
at Louisville WON 17-10
at Pittsburgh WON 35-10
North Carolina State LOST 7-23


Off. Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Dana Holgorsen
Previous: Oklahoma State Off. Coor.

Def. Coordinator/Linebackers: Jeff Casteel
Previous: WVU Def. Coor./LB Coach

Running Backs: Robert Gillespie
Previous: Oklahoma State RB Coach

Wide Receivers/Special Teams: Daron Roberts
Previous: NFL Lions Asst. Secondary Coach

Inside Receivers: Shannon Dawson
Previous: Stephen F. Austin Off. Coor.

Offensive Line: Bill Bedenbaugh
Previous: Arizona Co-Off. Coor./OL Coach

Defensive Line: Bill Kirelawich
Previous: WVU DL Coach

Cornerbacks: David Lockwood
Previous: WVU CB Coach

Safeties: Steve Dunlap
Previous: WVU Safeties Coach


2010 Final Rankings
AP-32, Coaches-29, BCS-22


Mountaineer Field is about to undergo a massive revolution, offensively that is. And that's probably good news considering all the negative rumblings stemming from head coach Bill Stewart's "lack-of" offensive production the past few years. WVU made one of the most significant hires this winter by luring Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen out of Stillwater. He will spend one season under Stewart before taking the reigns as head coach in 2012.

What's so grand about Holgorsen? Just look at his track record. He has been the architect of some of college football’s most explosive offenses. His Oklahoma State team led the nation in total offense a year ago averaging 44.9 points per game. Receiver Justin Blackmon won the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation's top receiver. Prior to that he was the offensive coordinator at Houston. Those Cougar offenses put up explosive numbers accounting for 563 yards per game while finishing ranked No. 3 in total offense in 2008 and No. 1 in 2009. His quarterback Case Keenum led the nation in total offense. In 2007 his Texas Tech team led the nation in passing where receiver Michael Crabtree won the Biletnikoff Award. The shear numbers are astounding. In the last five years as an offensive coordinator, Dana Holgorsen has piled up over 19 miles of offense (34,244 yards) for 2,617 points. (See chart below).

All of this could not present a more optimistic future for fans and players alike, especially the players. Quarterback Geno Smith is a known commodity. If history is any indication, Mr. Smith is about ready to explode toward greater heights. He maintains a better athletic skill set than many of the quarterbacks Holgorsen has built into statistical legends. The man behind center won't run with the ball, the days of Pat White and Rasheed Marshall killing opponents with their feet are over. This is first and foremost a passing attack. That doesn't necessarily mean the days of Noel Devine and Steve Slaton running up and down the field is over, but the shear amount of times the running backs handle the ball will be diminished for a more efficient approach.

With all the schematic changes on offense coming, the personnel changes on defense are what dominate the preseason concerns. This defense did it all a year ago stuffing the run, sacking the quarterback and covering the pass. But a huge chunk of those players responsible for its success have moved on, only four starters return. Linebacker in particular was a major talent pool resource that was hit hard by graduation. The inexperience factor with this unit will certainly be a source of early growing pains. Take it for what it's worth, but the 83 points given up in the spring game can't be much of a confidence booster no matter what type of scoring format was used. Despite the turnover, defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel has a pretty descent wealth of young talent.

The question of whether Bill Stewart and Dana Holgorsen can coexist together as coaches does not seem to be an issue that will cause the Mountaineers to implode. This is the favorite to win a still-very-weak Big Least conference. The defense may not need to be that impressive if the first one to 50 points determines the winner. Who wouldn’t want to play in this offense? In the long run look for this aspect to pay dividends in the recruiting ranks. It will be extremely interesting to see how this "Air Raid" offense fits into a league that isn't used to seeing these schemes on a weekly basis. Advantage West Virginia. Let's Go!

Projected 2011 record: 9-3

DE Bruce Irvin
2010 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Geno Smith, 241-372-7, 2763 yds., 24 TD

Rushing: Ryan Clarke, 80 att., 291 yds., 8 TD

Receiving: Tavon Austin, 58 rec., 787 yds., 8 TD

Scoring: Tyler Bitancurt, 10-17 FG, 41-41 PAT, 71 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: Tyler Bitancurt, 10-17 FG, 41-41 PAT, 71 pts.

Tackles: Terence Garvin, 76 tot., 41 solo

Sacks: Bruce Irvin, 14 sacks

Interceptions: Keith Tandy, 6 for 51 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Tavon Austin, 12 ret., 19.2 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: J.D. Woods, 1 ret., 6.0 avg., 0 TD


19 miles of offense

In the last five years as an offensive coordinator, Coach Holgorsen has produced 34,244 yards of total offense. That's the equivalent of 19.5 miles.

6,763 yards total offense
4,496 yards passing
2,267 yards rushing
575 points

7,887 yards total offense
6,072 yards passing
1,815 yards rushing
591 points

7,316 yards total offense
5,221 yards passing
2,095 yards rushing
528 points

6,444 yards total offense
5,707 yards passing
737 yards rushing
501 points

5,834 yards total offense
4,803 yards passing
1,031 yards rushing
422 points

2011 College Football Preview
OFFENSE: Noel Devine-TB, Jock Sanders-WR, Will Johnson-TE, Eric Jobe-OG
DEFENSE: Scooter Berry-DT, Chris Neild-NT, Anthony Leonard-MLB, Pat Lazear-MLB, J.T. Thomas-WLB, Brandon Hogan-CB, Sidney Glover-BS, Gregg Pugnetti-P, Robert Sands-FS (NFL)
Returning starter Geno Smith was able to practice and play this spring and that was great news considering he was questionable with another off-season foot surgery. Why was that important? Brand new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dana Holgorsen is implementing a completely new system. Getting reps and grasping this playbook is a necessary springboard for August. Mission accomplished as Smith finished 26-of-37 for 388 yards and four touchdowns in the spring game finale, albeit against the second team defense. Smith was able to make his cuts with both feet and showed no ill effects from his foot surgery. But Smith won't be running with the ball in this offense. The days of quarterbacks being at the top of the rushing statistics are over. Last season Smith was criticized at times for his poor decisions and badly timed turnovers. But much of that blame was also directed at inept coaching, henceforth opening the door for the WVU administration to chase after Holgorsen. Look for Geno Smith to thrive in this system. He shows good form, a quick release and should excel in this offense throwing the ball. The back ups however are both true freshmen who enrolled early and that's not a good sign at all should Smith go down at some point. Texas hurler Paul Millard came out on top this spring after leading the nation in passing as a high school senior. Also in the mix is Brian Athey from Minnesota, the grandson of WVU commentator Dwight Wallace. He is likely in line for a redshirt season barring injuries at this position.

With Noel Devine moving on WVU will begin the season without a proven commodity at running back for the first time since 2005. Combine this with the fact the new offense is geared to air it out and the uncertainty of this 2011 rushing attack only gets bigger. That probably creates an uneasy feeling for Mountaineer fans knowing the last decade’s bread and butter has been one of the nation's most prolific ground games. The identity of this offense is about to change in a major way and this is the one area that gets the majority of the facelift. New running back Coach Robert Gillespie divides his backfield between A backs (the lead ball carrier) and B backs (the blockers). Returning lead rusher Ryan Clarke has proven to be a force in short yardage and then some. The bullish 250-pounder looks like a nice fit for the blocking B-back spot and he will likely also see time at A-back where his rushing skills can be taken advantage of in different ways. Clarke sat out the spring after suffering torn cartilage in his knee during from the first scrimmage which allowed former walk-on Matt Lindamood to get most of the No. 1 reps. At the A-back spot Trey Johnson has carried the ball with authority thus far. He and true freshman Vernard Roberts, who enrolled early and led all rushers in the spring game, are smallish scat back types. Shawne Alston spelled Noel Devine last season when Devine was suffering with injury. He is the big back option between the tackles but also had his spring cut short with a sprained neck. The Morgantown chatter is that incoming freshman Andrew Buie will have a chance to be the featured ball carrier. Expect the carries to be split up. Getting anything close to a 1,000-yard back doesn't seem likely under this scenario.

One or maybe two of these receivers is going to be a star, count on it. And that is something else that will be a newly welcomed sight to Mountaineer fans. Who is the next Michael Crabtree or the next Justin Blackmon - two of the All-American, record setting receivers that have flourished under offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen? That is how this offense works where an underrated high school prospect with gifted athletic skills can post colossal numbers in this "Air Raid". The good news is that WVU has several of these types. The base sets will include four receivers, nothing new in Morgantown. What's different is how they line up and get utilized. With two inside receivers and two outside receivers everybody gets a shot. At the top of the heap is all-time Maryland prep career rusher Tavon Austin. He is the team's returning leading pass catcher but way too many times last year was ignored down the stretch. He can torment defenses across the middle using his shiftiness to turn short passes into big gainers. He has proven capable of stretching the field with his top end speed. If ever there was a player begging to be unshackled in a wide-open passing system, it is Tavon Austin. Another capable receiver that has proven to make clutch plays in tight spaces is Stedman Bailey. He has a chance to build on a stellar freshman campaign. Bailey lacks elite athleticism and size but has the ability to make the highlight catches. Along with Bradley Starks, Ivan McCartney is the tallest receiver in the rotation standing at 6'3. A ton of expectations have been placed on the shoulders of the Miramar, FL high school star. He possesses that elite NFL size and speed but he has yet to display anything that would leave coaches to believe he can contribute immediately. The former quarterback Starks was lost for the spring with a shoulder injury but if healthy is expected to finally make some noise his senior campaign. J.D. Woods turned out to be a nice surprise last season catching 18 passes. He can make a nice fifth or sixth option providing the needed depth although there may not be enough balls to go around. Pat White's brother Coley, also a former quarterback, is now a full-time receiver in the mix. Ryan Nehlen, grandson of Hall of Fame WVU coach Don Nehlen, won the award this spring as the top walk-on and is good enough to see time on the field. There won't be a tight end in these formations so Tyler Urban will be used as an inside receiver to create mismatches with smaller defensive backs. There really are quite a few options here, although Coach Holgorsen is still concerned with the lack of numbers. That's how many receivers are required to work his magic.

This front wall is the biggest offensive question mark heading into the season once again. These same linemen crippled the offense on many occasions last year while failing to open holes for a once proud ground game. University of Arizona line coach and co-offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh has been hired to resurrect this unit. His efforts were not made any easier when starting tackles Don Barclay and Jeff Braun sat out the spring with off-season shoulder surgery. The only silver lining was that young bull elephants Quentin Spain and Pat Eger got a chance to run with the first group while building the depth factor. It would not be surprising to see one of these mammoths wind up being the starter before 2011 comes to a close. Spain has a great upside after losing weight this winter while finding a dedication in the weight room. All-Big East senior Don Barclay has played in 39 career games, starting 27 and is the veteran of the group while Braun led the offensive line with 48 knockdowns and five thunderbolt blocks last year. Parkersburg product Josh Jenkins was once considered the number one high school player coming out of the state of West Virginia. He needs to rise up and perform like a college senior for this line to take an extensive step forward. Four starters are back and there is no reason for the continued sub par results. It might take a while for this group to get comfortable in the new system, which could slow down the early progress.


WR Tavon Austin


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Geno Smith-Jr (6-3, 210) Paul Millard-Fr (6-2, 200)
B-back Ryan Clarke-Jr (6-0, 247) Matt Lindamood-Jr (6-0, 234)
A-back Trey Johnson-So (5-10, 172) Shawne Alston-Jr (5-11, 222)
WR Stedman Bailey-So (5-10, 195) Tyler Urban-Sr (6-5, 249)
WR Tavon Austin-Jr (5-9, 173) Coley White-Jr (6-0, 175)
WR Ivan McCartney-So (6-3, 183) J.D. Woods-Jr (6-0, 192)
WR Bradley Starks-Sr (6-3,190) Ryan Nehlen-Jr (6-2, 198)
OT Don Barclay-Sr (6-4, 304) Quinton Spain-RFr (6-6, 330)
OG Josh Jenkins-Sr (6-3, 300) Chad Snodgrass-Sr (6-4, 296)
C Joe Madsen-Jr (6-4, 290) John Bassler-Jr (6-4, 295)
OG Tyler Rader-Sr (6-3, 291) Cole Bowers-So (6-5, 289)
OT Jeff Braun-Jr (6-4, 308) Pat Eger-So (6-6, 288)
K Tyler Bitancurt-Jr (6-1, 198) Corey Smith-Jr (5-11, 214)



This defensive line did its job last year, that's for sure. Those hefty numbers don’t lie. They helped lead a defense that ranked second nationally against the rush and second nationally at producing sacks. Two key clogs have departed in Scooter Berry and Chris Neild. The pass rush will still continue to rank with the best of them though, as defensive end Bruce Irvin should be the star of the defense. Irvin was a pass rushing specialist who emerged on the scene last fall as a first year JUCO transfer by recording 14 sacks while playing primarily on third downs. He has been working extremely hard to make the transition of being an every down player. After adding six pounds to his size while hitting the weight room, the senior is sure to garner double team attention from opposing teams. That leaves fellow senior Julian Miller on the other side to wreak havoc. Miller is actually the only returning starter on this line. He posted nine sacks in each of the past two seasons but has been moved from end to tackle in this 3-man defensive alignment. This will give Irvin more opportunities on the outside. Miller may weigh in a little light on the scale to play tackle but his quickness should be an advantage. Will Clarke showed promise at the beginning of last season before being slowed by a high ankle sprain. He will back up Irvin and with continued success can find time in certain packages. The battle to replace the wide-bodied (and NFL bound) bulldog Neild won't be as simple. Jorge Wright and Josh Taylor have appeared in a combined 44 games. Wright made a move this spring to take over but his efforts got derailed after being suspended indefinitely for an arrest on May 3. Taylor has performed in more games and seen more starts. This line will be lighter in 2011, but it will also be quicker. It's shaping up to continue being the best pass rush in the Big East. Continued achievement at stopping the run could be another story.

As with many positions on defense WVU will be looking for some new faces to step in at linebacker. No other unit will go through this much of a rebuilding effort with familiar names such as J.T. Thomas, Pat Lazear and Anthony Leonard graduating. The experience level is desperately slim. Holding down the fort will be fifth-year senior Najee Goode who luckily can play all three spots. The question is where does he fit best? Ironically, the official WVU spring depth chart has Goode starting at both the strong side and the weak side. While that scenario is comically impossible, it does demonstrate the need for someone else to step up. If Goode starts on the strong side that opens the door for Josh Francis, who just participated in his first spring here, on the weak side. Francis came from Lackawanna Jr. College in Scranton, PA where he was tabbed a First Team JUCO All-American. Francis emerging as a dependable starter would provide a huge boost. Currently operating with the first group on this side is senior walk-on Casey Vance. Another option is for two sophomores to start the opener in Branko Busick and Doug Rigg. The middle dons the least experience where Busick finished with three tackles on the season. His backup Jewone Snow redshirted. Between the two of them they registered fewer tackles than receiver J.D. Woods. At least Rigg saw some action last year and could be an option on the strong side. The New Jersey prepster played in all 13 games a year ago as a back up. Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel has proven he can produce more with less. This bunch has its shortcomings and Casteel will need to do his best work yet to make sure this group doesn't spell disaster, especially early in the season.

Jeff Casteel will continue to implement the 3-3-5 stack defense, which equates to a need for quality defensive backs and plenty of them. Maintaining the numbers despite the loss of three key performers does not appear to be a problem with a young pipeline filling the gaps. Talent seems to be sufficient but experience does not. Rivals.com named Keith Tandy a Third Team All-American last December after leading the Big East with six interceptions. He will be the leader in this secondary. The departure of Brandon Hogan at the other cornerback spot won't be easy to replace. Pat Miller is the front-runner after posting two starts a year ago. The speedy junior from Hoover High in Birmingham, AL was primarily used on third down situations so he knows what it takes to be in crucial situations. Washington DC product Avery Williams enrolled early as a true freshman this January and is making strides every day. He could wind up as part of this rotation. Spur safety Terence Garvin could be the best player in this secondary. After leading the team in tackles in 2011 as just a sophomore, Garvin is an imposing figure that has a great future. At free safety is Eain Smith who sat out the spring with injury. Smith has a reputation for being in the coaches’ doghouse, which means the door for talented youngster Travis Bell is wide open. Bell played in all 13 games as a true freshman. He is the tallest safety and can reportedly launch off the synthetic turf. The lack of experience is immediately felt at bandit safety where Darwin Cook was used solely as a back up last year. Pushing him is Wes Tonkery who redshirted. Overall, this unit cannot be expected to maintain the same type of production compared to a year ago. Nor will it meet the same potential as what could have been if Robert Sands had stayed in school. The cupboard is not bare by any means however and is far ahead of where this unit was just two seasons ago when Coach Lockwood took over.


CB Keith Tandy


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Bruce Irvin-Sr (6-3, 235) Will Clarke-RFr (6-6, 265)
NT Josh Taylor-Sr (6-1, 278) Jorge Wright-Jr (6-2, 264)
DT Julian Miller-Sr (6-4, 260) J.B. Lageman-Jr (6-3, 266)
SLB Najee Goode-Sr (6-1, 238) Doug Rigg-So (6-1, 215)
MLB Branko Busick-So (6-0, 231) Jewone Snow-RFr (6-3, 230)
WLB Casey Vance-Sr (5-9, 227) Josh Francis-Jr (6-2, 215)
CB Pat Miller-Jr (5-10, 183) Brodrick Jenkins-So (5-10, 182)
CB Keith Tandy-Sr (5-10, 198) Brantwon Bowser-Sr (5-11, 190)
SPUR Terence Garvin-Jr (6-3, 215) Mike Dorsey-So (6-3, 210)
FS Eain Smith-Sr (5-11, 204) Travis Bell-So (6-2, 187)
BS Darwin Cook-So (5-11, 205) Wes Tonkery-RFr (6-1, 190)
P Corey Smith-Jr (5-11, 214) Michael Molinari-RFr (6-2, 196)




Kicker Tyler Bitancurt returns after an extremely disappointing and inconsistent 2010 effort where he went 10-of-17 on field goal attempts. Bitancurt was selected as a First Team All-Big East selection in 2009 before his sophomore slump. He was just 2-of-7 from 40 yards and out. But his understanding of technique sets him apart from Corey Smith at present. This will be the fourth year in a row WVU needs to find a new punter. Big leg Corey Smith may not win the place kicker job but has the leading edge here. In 2007, the Musselman High Schooler was the best kicker/punter combination in the state. He enrolled at Alabama but found his way home transferring to Morgantown. Smith debuted as the kickoff man last year where eight of his boots resulted in touchbacks doubling the amount from the year prior. Broderick Jenkins is currently first in line to handle the punt returns. The turbo charged defensive back out of Fort Myers, FL has yet to catch a punt in a Blue and Gold uniform however. When it comes to returning kicks offs, just put Tavon Austin back deep and get out of the way. His average took a dip from the big year he had as a true frosh in '09, which could be contributed to a shoulder injury he battled through. The early projection has Bradley Starks, one of the five fastest on the team, flanking Austin. This of course assumes Starks can recover from an injury bug that has plagued the senior. Coaches are looking for more production in the return department and hope to rectify the situation as they hired Daron Roberts away from the Detroit Lions to handle the special teams.