Submitted without comment, here is the juicy breakdown of WVU by the ESPN experts:
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Todd Blackledge on Pass Offense: Patrick White is one of the best players in the country, and not just because of his running (101.6 ypg last year). He’s always had a big arm, but his accuracy last season (65.9 percent) gets overlooked. He’ll hook up a lot with WR Darius Reynaud, who’s emerged as a major deep threat.
Bill Curry on Run Offense: White and RB Steve Slaton (134.2 ypg last season) eat up the chains on the ground, but FB Owen Schmitt, the best fullback of this century, sets the table for a terrific rushing attack.
Rod Gilmore on Pass Defense: CBs Antonio Lewis and Vaughn Rivers will do. FS Eric Wicks will do everything and more. He’s already solid covering short inside routes. Now he has to dedicate himself to improving the Eers’ awful deep-ball coverage.
Chris Spielman on Run Defense: Here’s the game plan: The 3-3-5 D hems in runners, then safety Wicks — a tough, physical tackler — cleans up the mess. Works for us, and for WVU: The Mountaineers’ Big East-best run D allowed only 93.3 rushing ypg.
Desmond Howard on Special Teams: Call freshman Noel Devine The Transformer. This game-buster from North Fort Myers (Fla.) High is the kind of kid who can remake a game on returns. Opposing teams should think twice before scoring.
Jim Donnan on Coaching: Rodriguez is a master of the spread offense; nobody balances finesse and power better. On defense, he and his staff really believe that the 3-3-5 defensive scheme is the answer. It’d better be, because last year’s No. 109 pass D (243.3 ypg) raised a lot of questions.
Brad Edwards on Schedule: Everybody knows WVU has to beat Rutgers and Louisville. But the Maryland game is pivotal. The Eers need to win, then have the Terps put together a good year. Otherwise, it’s just another case of a Big East team playing an unfriendly BCS formula nonconference schedule.