Uncertainty a good thing for WVU
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 08:03
As the 2013 edition of the West Virginia football team took the field to kick off spring practice Sunday, there was a much different feeling around the group as a whole.
For the first time since head coach Dana Holgorsen has been in Morgantown, the Mountaineers are heading into a season without that same "star power" they had with players like Bruce Irvin, Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. This is a WVU team few people know what to expect from.
While it definitely makes things a little easier when proven players are around and the roster is full of experience, the uncertainty surrounding this spring isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
After the way last season ended, with the disappointment of a 38-14 loss to Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, the best thing for this team might be to just start over with a clean slate. It’s never a bad thing to let people fight it out over jobs and try to earn their place on the field.
There have been a number of times when people have stepped up and proven themselves most when they’re faced with tough competition, and they need to really show what they can do in order to earn their playing time when the season rolls around. And, of course, that also can sometimes show who doesn’t deserve to be out there.
That’s why this spring period is so crucial for Holgorsen and the rest of the staff.
This is that first major evaluation period they can look at and see who stands out from the rest of the pack. That’s an especially important thing to watch for when you look at the positions that the Mountaineers are trying to fill.
It’s not going to be easy to step into the shoes of people like Smith, Bailey and Austin for some of these younger Mountaineers who just don’t have the experience at the college level yet.
Considering the questions about how well the defense will improve this season with a number of younger players who gained valuable playing time despite being one of the worst defenses in the country coming back, as well as the questions about who will even be on the field for Holgorsen’s offense, it’s easy to just sit here and say WVU will struggle mightily in 2013.
And it most certainly could.
But you never know how people are going to respond when the spotlight is put on them. Some can crumble under the pressure; others will thrive. It depends on what type of players are on this team.
That’s something nobody will know until we see how these guys react to their chances to step up. You can make predictions all you want and speculate about how well someone will react when they get their chance to play, but until they actually get out on the field and prove themselves, there’s not much else you can really do.
And that is the great thing about spring practice this season at WVU.