WVU Staff Anticipates "Uncomfortable" Football Offseason - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Staff Anticipates "Uncomfortable" Football Offseason


West Virginia football has a sign hanging in a hidden corner of the team's Hall of Traditions within the Milan Puskar Center.

It features a quote from Vince Lombardi just above big, bold, gold letters that read, "Being uncomfortable."

In Dana Holgorsen's first season as head coach, the same location featured a sign that mentioned "insanity" with no explanation of what exactly that meant. But perhaps the uncomfortable mantra is something that the coaching staff can shed some light on.

Shannon Dawson, for one, couldn't get the word out enough when he discussed the future of the WVU football program.

"We're going to continue making the room uncomfortable, so if those guys aren't all in and they're not going to work, they're not going to go out there and compete, they're going to get passed up," Dawson said.

Those guys the WVU offensive coordinator speaks of are the players who make up the Mountaineer roster. His point is that those returning athletes cannot sit back and feel like anything is promised as the vast majority of them on his side of the ball have yet to prove much of anything on the field.

He starts at the quarterback position, where the staff brought in just one new candidate to replace the production and leadership that Geno Smith gave the team over the past three seasons as its starter.

Chavas Rawlins will come in to compete with junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress, the only other scholarship quarterbacks in a Mountaineer uniform.

"In case anybody forgot, we don't have any experience coming back at quarterback and that's just the way it is. Paul's got the most and he's got a little," Dawson said.

The next question comes from the receiver position as Dawson and his staff try to figure out just who will fill the voids left by the departure of Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and J.D. Woods.

Of West Virginia's 4,091 receiving yards, those three accounted for 3,356. The top returning receiver is Andrew Buie, a running back.

"We don't have a single human being at receiver right now that has done anything at West Virginia. Nothing," Dawson said flatly. "If you can name me one, name me one. I mean, what do we got? K.J. Myers caught two balls last year. Squirt [sophomore Jordan Thompson] caught, what, four? He dropped more than he caught. So those guys better step up."

Thompson actually caught 13 passes for 85 yards, but Dawson point comes across loud and clear. A quick look down the latest signing class shows just what the staff is trying to do to rectify the inexperience they have returning by adding depth. Five receivers were added through recruiting.

The plan is to get some of them in the lineup early and often if they can beat out those who were already on the roster.

"We hope so. That's why we recruited them," said Dawson. "You want to recruit better kids than you have. You want to make the room extremely uncomfortable."

There are similarities between this situation and what the Mountaineers faced when Holgorsen first took over. The difference is that those players had experience, just not in the system. Now there isn't much game experience, but the players are familiar with the game plan.

There won't be a group of student-athletes walking around at the top with backups following in their wake. It's a level playing field.

That said, Dawson remains confident that even though he doesn't know what he'll get from each piece of the puzzle, the playmakers will ultimately rise to the top and keep the offense moving forward.

"Somebody will emerge," Dawson said, specifically pointing to the quarterback position. "There will be a clear cut guy who is dominant, so whoever that is will be the leader, will be the guy that leads the team. We've had a pretty good track record of developing quarterbacks, so we'll develop one that can distribute the ball to those guys."

All that's left to figure out is who all of "those guys" are. Until then, the football facilities could be a very uncomfortable place to be.

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