The time for talk is almost over. After a fall camp marked by optimism and feel good stories, it’s time for WVU to face one of its biggest challenges in years: The Alabama Crimson Tide.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff have been praising the depth of their team since the beginning of camp. That depth will be put to the ultimate test right off the bat.
Redshirt senior quarterback Clint Trickett has emphasized how he needs to avoid hits and make smarter decisions when it comes to his health in 2014. With the way the Tide’s defensive line gets after opposing quarterbacks, chances are he’ll have several opportunities to show whether this new philosophy is just preseason talk or an actual change in mentality.
While Trickett is ultimately responsible for making these decisions, West Virginia’s offensive line has to give him time in the pocket.
This is easier said than done against a team like Alabama. Offensive line coach Ron Crook has assembled an experienced front five, but experience can only take you so far.
Senior guard Quinton Spain has a tall order at hand Saturday. After being selected to the preseason All-Big 12 First Team, he is being looked to as one of the offense’s leaders and has to set a tone for the season.
Even after their date with Nick Saban and the Tide, West Virginia’s schedule doesn’t get easier by any stretch of the imagination.
With No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 10 Baylor looking like serious national title contenders, the Big 12 slate West Virginia has to tackle in the 2014 season is as unforgiving as ever.
Holgorsen has done a nice job of bringing in talent-filled recruiting classes in consecutive seasons, but for now, the Mountaineers are still behind the curve in the Big 12.
There is always a chance this team could come together and surprise people, but looking at the depth of the rest of the top contenders in the Big 12, it seems unlikely.
Whether the Mountaineers make a serious push for bowl eligibility this season should have no effect on Dana Holgorsen’s job security, either.
After watching this team in fall camp, I believe there is some serious young talent budding on this roster.
Freshman quarterback William Crest has garnered an immense amount of hype, but it would be a bit outlandish to expect him to make a major impact this year.
Crest is just one of the many young players that could play big roles on this team in the not-so-distant future.
Holgorsen has compiled enough talent in the last two seasons to make the Mountaineers future look quite bright. But in the present, this team isn’t ready to be a real threat in the Big 12.
The Mountaineers have more depth up and down their roster than they have had in a while, but they are still a year or so away from being able to have any chance of competing with the big dogs in college football on a consistent basis.