Healthy Alston Believes Sky is Limit for WVU Rushers - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Healthy Alston Believes Sky is Limit for WVU Rushers


Heading into his junior season, Shawne Alston was a bit of an unknown commodity.

Prior to that year, he had gotten enough quality repetitions behind former West Virginia speedster Noel Devine that a body of work existed for the new coaching staff, but that was about it.

With a lingering neck injury sustained in a car accident, Alston was unable to fully participate in drills and rarely was head coach Dana Holgorsen ever willing to give a real assessment of what he had seen from his most experienced returning rusher.

After missing the season opener against Marshall and the following matchup with Norfolk State, Alston made his debut in game three at Maryland.

Freshman Dustin Garrison brought the biggest contribution to the rushing game in year one of Holgorsen's reign at WVU and Alston was behind him to create a totally different look. When Garrison went down during bowl preparation, the load became Alston's to bear, and he did so quite well.

With two touchdowns and 77 yards rushing in the win over Clemson, Alston showed that both aspects of the Mountaineers' offense could work, not just the one that included Geno Smith getting the ball to Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.

Now he is a senior. He is a leader on an offense that makes its name through the air, but yearns for the ground consistency to keep defenses guessing.

To be able to continue that momentum from the Orange Bowl into a summer session with no restrictions in his participation is an opportunity Alston intends to capitalize on.

"Anytime that you can come in and you can work out with the team and run around and do certain things, that's always a good thing," says Alston. "I was able to do a little bit of the stuff last year, but I had restrictions throughout the whole offseason and throughout the spring."

Alston is aware of what he is capable of and his teammates and coaches are, too. The difference between last year and the present is that now he can show them rather than hoping their memory or a clip of film will do his game justice.

"Just to come in here and my teammates see me working and they get confidence in me and me working out also builds confidence in myself. So it's a good thing to be full go this year," he says.

His expectation is not only for full strength from himself, but also the running backs he shares a meeting room with.

When Holgorsen first took over, he did so with a group of ball carriers that lacked experience in any college system, much less his own. Combine that with an offensive line that struggled at times to work together and to grasp exactly what Coach Bill Bedenbaugh wanted from it and the attack was slowed or even abandoned at times for the aerial assault.

Alston has no doubt that a year of running the scheme and the excitement surrounding the offense right now will push he and his teammates to success in 2012.

"There's so much talent in the room, we should never have a letdown," says Alston. "Last year was the first year in the system, which is no way an excuse, but we just have a little bit of experience now, we don't have to focus as much on what we're doing anymore, we can focus on what the other team is doing and how we can take advantage of what they're doing against us."

Even as Garrison pulled ahead of the other options at the position in 2011, no player was considered out of the competition for the starting role or to quickly spell whoever was getting the majority of the carries.

That competition continued in the spring and will carry over to training camp and ultimately into the season, which is exactly what each candidate wants.

"We have so many people that can be stars and the competition is real high in there, so that makes everything better," says Alston.

"The sky is the limit for us."

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