We are going to be taking a look over the coming weeks at the teams the Longhorns will face during the 2012 football season.Â Rather than go in order and put you to sleep (Sorry Wyoming), we’re going to hit these in order of interest, giving you some fun facts and news you can use.Â The first team up will be:
Now you know a bit about the Mountaineers, lets look no further than what, for the moment, is the most dangerous QB in the Big 12 Conference, Geno Smith.
Smith, a senior, is an electric playmaker who broke nearly all of Marc Bulger’s single season passing records, which is what you’d expect from an attack orchestrated by Dana Holgorson, who we all remember fromÂ his days at Oklahoma State. The 6-3 214lb Smith threw for 4385 yards last season, completing 65.8% of his passes for 31 touchdowns against just 7 interceptions. Smith is going to face much tougher defenses in this league than he did last year, but is still the best QB in the conference.Â Keep in mind Smith threw for 463-2-2 against LSU.
Smith has a ton of weapons at his disposal with a lot of experience, led by Senior Tavon Austin, along with Senior JD Woods, Senior Ryan Nehlen, Junior Ivan McCartney, and Jr Stedman Bailey.Â Overall, this is probably the most experienced receiver corps in the nation. Soph RB Dustin Garrison, who averaged just a shade under 5.5 yards per carry, will hopefully be ready to man the backfield once owned by Steve Slaton and Noel Devine.Â Senior RB Shawne Alston had a decent spring and showed he could hold the line while Garrison is gone, which is needed. Soph RB Andrew Buie will get playing time this year and has improved a lot, but the team needs Garrison back and healthy.
The offensive line returns two Seniors with C Joe Madsen and OG Jeff Braun solidifying the line, and Junior OT Pat Eger on the edge, a key when facing the fierce defensive lines of teams like Texas and Kansas State.Â Already experienced, the team gets back Senior OG Josh Jenkins who missed last year after tearing up a knee in the spring game.Â If that wasnâ€™t enough to concern you, the only other thing West Virginia did was move in 335lb mammoth Quinton Spain at OT.Â Hooray!
The Mountaineers were 15th in the county last year in total offense, averaging 469.5 yards a game, and 13th in scoring offense at 37.6 points per game. If you haven’t figured it out yet, West Virginia is bringing a powerful offense laden with experience to the table.
Defensively, the Mountaineers return experience with their 9 starters, but will transition out of a 3-3-5 defensive into a more conventional 3-4 alignment.Â Keys on this defense are DE Will Clarke, who will provide a nice pass rush and intercepted a pass in the spring game, and LB Isaiah Bruce, who led the spring game in tackles and is a guy who can bring the wood needed against the larger running backs the Mountaineers will see in the Big 12.
Another name I heard good things about was newcomer Fr LB Karl Joseph, who had a strong spring and brings the pain accordingly.Â This unit is hard to gauge right now being in such a transition and missing starting CB Pat Miller and starting S Terence Garvin due to injury.
The punt and kick return duties will be manned by guys like Austin, so all you need to know is they are awesome.
There is a lot of young talent and experience on this team, and it speaks to their coaching they did so well against the offense in the spring game by forcing several turnovers, but we just wont know till we see them line up and play. Last season the Mountaineers were 33rd in total defense at 348.2 yards per game and 63rd in scoring defense at just over 26 points per game.
Did you know West Virginia is the winningest team in FBS to have never won a National Championship?Â I didn’t either, but this team has the firepower and potential to end that streak this year.
Texas faces West Virginia, who should come in 4-0 and ranked in the Top 10 in Austin Saturday, October 6, 2012.
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