Five Questions As WVU Opens Training Camp - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Five Questions As WVU Opens Training Camp


The West Virginia University football team will hold its first practice later today. The Mountaineers have less than one month until the 2012 season opener against Marshall. In that time, the coaching staff hopes to answer numerous questions regarding its depth chart.

There are always questions facing a team heading into a new season. Despite the preseason hype, there are also questions facing the Mountaineers.

These are five questions this reporter will be looking for answers to throughout camp:

1) How Healthy Is Dustin Garrison?

Garrison adds so much depth and experience to the WVU backfield. He is expected to be totally healthy and a full participant in the Mountaineers first practice today. Garrison rushed for 742 yards and six touchdowns as a true freshman last season. That includes rushing for 291 yards and two touchdowns against Bowling Green last October.

The backfield of Garrison, Buie and Alston sounds very good and should be very productive. But without a healthy Garrison, Buie and Alston do not deliver the same punch.

Garrison suffered a torn ACL in practice the week of the Orange Bowl and missed the game against Clemson.

So, how healthy is Garrison? We should be able to figure that one out pretty quickly once we see him try to cut and juke in practice.

2) Will Paul Millard Be Ready If Needed?

WVU fans do not want to see Paul Millard in a game unless the Mountaineers are blowing out an opponent. However, he has to be ready should he be needed. Whether it be because Geno Smith takes a big hit and has to come out for one play, or Smith suffers a worse injury and must miss a game or more.

When Millard spoke to the media this offseason he sounded a lot more confident than he was a year ago. He also has clearly accepted his role and understands the importance of that role better than he did last year.

Millard is focused on serving as Geno Smith's backup and working to better understand the offense and be ready for his turn to compete for the starting job once the 2012 season is history.

3) Will The Secondary Be Ready For Big 12 Offenses?

Fortunately, this secondary has had to face Geno Smith and the rest of the WVU offense throughout the summer in 7-on-7 drills. That kind of day after day challenge of facing those guys has to count for something this season.

The Big 12 has a reputation for being an offensive league. With half of its quarterbacks named to the Manning Award Watch List, it appears it will be a league heavy on offense once again.

WVU Defensive Coordinator Joe DeForest stressed forcing turnovers to his defense throughout the spring. One position that needs to force turnovers is defensive back. Terence Garvin is expected to be healthy and back in full force at Safety. The question is just how the WVU cornerbacks will stack up to Big 12 passing offenses.

There are quite a few guys competing for playing time at corner and that competition should help push a couple of them to the surface as starters.

4) Will The Offensive Line Develop Some Depth?

This is a pretty big question. Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh closed out spring practice without feeling he had adequate backups on the offensive line. Clearly Bedenbaugh challenged his second team to improve throughout the offseason.

It probably will not take Bedenbaugh long to figure out if they improved enough. It will certainly help having Mark Glowinski, a junior college transfer, on the roster. Glowinski was not here in the spring and is expected to push some of the starters for a spot on the first team.

5) Is Will Johnson As Advertised?

True freshman Will Johnson is in a tough spot. The coaching staff raved about him on signing day and quarterback Geno Smith did the same at Big 12 media day. Johnson is a 6-foot-6, 245 pound receiver that is being compared to New England Patriots Tight End/Receiver Rob Gronkowski.

Johnson is expected to create mismatches against linebackers and corners. Smith said he has great hands to go along with his size and speed.

Will Johnson deliver what Holgorsen expects out of him this fall? If Johnson does live up to the expectations, he could prove to be another big weapon for Geno Smith as the Mountaineers try to march down the field.

Those are some of the questions to keep in mind as WVU takes the practice field for the first time later today.

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