Alston Would Greatly Help Struggling Offense - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Alston Would Greatly Help Struggling Offense

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MORGANTOWN -

It remains unknown if West Virginia University running back Shawne Alston will return next Saturday against TCU following a deep-thigh bruise that has sidelined him for more than a month. Alston tweeted last week that he will play against TCU. Head Coach Dana Holgorsen was quick to correct that indicating Alston will have to practice well enough to be deemed ready for action.

The West Virginia offense has struggled the past two weeks. Alston's return would affect the way the Mountaineers attack the defense and the way the defense tries to defend WVU.

Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison did a pretty good job handling most of the carries without Alston available. However, with the exception of Texas, neither back sniffed a 100-yard performance against an opponent.

Perhaps Alston's biggest addition to the offense is the respect he gains from a defense. Neither Buie nor Garrison command the kind of attention from a defense in the middle of the field that Alston does.

Alston's ability to run through tackles meant more opponents had to cheat more players inside the box. Without that threat, those players were able to cheat more towards the outside and help jam up passing lanes.

Alston also proves to be more of a threat inside the red zone. WVU has struggled to score in the red zone recently. West Virginia was 1-for-3 in the red zone against Kansas State and 2-for-4 against Texas Tech.

Alston has scored 12 touchdowns in his last eight games played. He scored two touchdowns in five of those eight games.

"He makes us better, does a good job and brings maturity and toughness," Head Coach Dana Holgorsen said about Alston. "He brings a physical style of play that we are lacking a little bit in the run game. It would be good to get him back out there."

Alston's presence improves the offense in more ways than what he does on the field. He brings senior leadership and respect back into the sideline and the locker room.

"He is a guy that has a presence in the locker room. Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison have done an adequate job of replacing him but he brings a different style that would be helpful."

It is a different style to defend. Compliment that style with the abilities of Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison and suddenly it is another dynamic for opponents to worry about.

Shawne Alston's return will not guarantee victory. It should help to jumpstart a struggling offense. Now, if Alston could also cover wide receivers, then perhaps he could ignite some fire on defense. Wishful thinking there.

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