WVU Football Mid-Season Report Card - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Football Mid-Season Report Card

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MORGANTOWN -

The West Virginia University football team received its bye week and now the Mountaineers are back into game week.

WVU returns to action Friday night at Syracuse. The Mountaineers enjoyed their bye week exactly half-way through the season.

Now seemed like as good a time as any to hand out a mid-season report card.

COACHING: A-

The entire coaching staff has done a great job meshing together and helping their team to a 5-1 start. This staff has succeeded in bringing an exciting and entertaining brand of football to watch.

The coaches need to try and find a way to get this team to play four solid quarters. Dana Holgorsen has done a good job of handling the head coaching responsibilities in his first season at that position.

QUARTERBACKS: A-

 Geno Smith has done an excellent job adjusting to the new offense and the results look good. Smith is eighth in the country in pass attempts. He has completed 165 passes for more than 2,000 yards. Smith has also thrown 16 touchdowns versus just three interceptions.

Smith has great pocket awareness. He knows when to move out of the pocket and when to stand in the pocket and take that hit after releasing the ball.

Paul Millard continues to learn as the backup quarterback. Millard experienced a difficult lesson thanks to an interception returned for a touchdown on his first pass thrown in the Connecticut game. Outside of that, Millard looks pretty good in situations that allow the backups to get into the game.

RUNNING BACKS: B-

The Running Backs (Dustin Garrison, Vernard Roberts, Trey Johnson and Shawne Alston) are coming along, but have struggled to date. The only exception was due to a 291-yard performance by Garrison against Bowling Green.

Vernard Roberts shows glimpses of potential. Trey Johnson has not played much. Shawne Alston continues to provide a spark when a bigger back is needed.

Garrison is fun to watch. He looks to fall forward nearly every time he is tackled. That means he can take a hit and keep pushing the pile. Garrison also possesses the ability to make defenders miss. He appears to be getting more comfortable in the college game. Now he needs to work on more consistency and trying to break off more big plays.

RECIEVERS: B+

Stedman Bailey is shining in Dana Holgorsen's offense.  Bailey is 17th in the country in receiving yards averaging 105.7 yards per game. He is clearly comfortable and capable of making big plays for the Mountaineers.

Ivan McCartney is coming on strong lately. Other than a couple of dropped balls, McCartney has made some big catches for the Mountaineers.

Tavon Austin is once again playing well. Austin, along with McCartney and Bailey, has turned in several 100 yard receiving performances.

Bradley Starks is also surging and taking advantage of his opportunities. Starks has made some big receptions this season.

Devon Brown, Ryan Nehlen, Tyler Urban and Willie Millhouse just need to get a little more consistent.

OFFENSIVE LINE: B

The offense line is still trying to find itself. It appears to be doing just that although Coach Holgorsen indicated that he was not happy with its performance against Connecticut. There were still a few breakdowns in picking up blitzes that Holgorsen wants to see corrected.

The line is doing a pretty good job of giving Geno Smith plenty of time to throw the ball. Smith is also doing a very good job of avoiding the pass rush.

The remaining challenge for this season is to try and spring the WVU running backs free for big gains.

More consistency out of the line will give it the opportunity to improve its grade.

DEFENSIVE LINE: B-

The defensive line is getting better and better as the season continues. The line has faced several offenses that pride themselves in getting rid of the ball quickly, which makes getting pressure on the quarterback very difficult.

Opponents have rushed for an average of 119 yards per game against the Mountaineers. That is currently 36th in the nation.

The line needs to do a better job of stopping the run. It is getting more pressure on the quarterback and the sacks are beginning to happen more regularly. Look for that trend to continue throughout Big East play.

LINEBACKERS: B

The linebackers are another unit on defense that is continuing to mesh together. Najee Goode continues to be the leader of the linebackers. He can play all three positions and that has helped to make this group of players as productive as possible.

The linebackers need to show improvement stopping the run. That takes consistency from both the line and the linebackers.

As Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel continues to open the defensive playbook, look for the Linebackers to be included in some upcoming sacks. They should blitz more as the season continues.

SECONDARY: B

The secondary returned several starters. Players like Keith Tandy and Terence Garvin are among the best at those positions in the Big East. Garvin returned an interception for a touchdown at Maryland earlier this season. The secondary has allowed 181 pass yards per game and only allowed five passing touchdowns through six games.

Overall the Mountaineers are playing well. The players and coaches will tell you there is still room for improvement. They are very excited to find out what the scoreboard would look like if they play four solid quarters. The fans would obviously like to see that as well.

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