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2007 Big East Football Prospectus Part 7: West Virginia

Editor’s Note: This is part seven of an eight part series giving analysis of each of the eight teams in the Big East Football Conference, proceeding alphabetically, but ending with Syracuse. A new team will be released each weekday for the next eight days. Feel free to use the comment section to supplement the facts and analysis presented, however my opinions will stand. Enjoy and I hope you are looking forward to the new Big East football season as much as I am. Part six can be found here.
West Virginia
Preview – Coach Rich Rodriguez begins his 2007 campaign in a pretty good place. Having been competing for the top spot in the Big East the last two seasons, including a BCS bowl win, he is sitting pretty at WVU. After much debated Alabama talk over the winter he is back at the helm with the most productive duo in the Big East with QB Pat White (118/179, 1655yds, 13 TD, 7 INT, sacked 12 times, Rush 1219yds on 165att, 7.4avg, 18 TD) and RB Steve Slaton (1744yds on 248att, 7.0avg, 16 TD). The biggest “problem” for WVU last year was their defense, which allowed competent teams to score fairly easily. Coach has changed some players around in the spring game and the defense should be a little more effective this season, although the loss of excellent linebackers will not help. Look for the pass rush of WVU to be much more aggressive this year, and the secondary to be rebuilt very competently. Slaton will not be the only option at tailback, so look for WVU to mix up who takes the handoffs. Even though the top receiver for the team is gone, there are still plenty of targets for White to throw to.

Key Returning Players – QB Pat White, RB Steve Slaton, WR/KR Darius Reynaud

Key Losses – LB Jay Henry, LB Kevin "Boo" McLee, G Jeremy Sheffey

My Thoughts – This team I feel is still the team to beat in the Big East this season. They are excellent at scoring, will be tougher on defense, and have a lot of pieces to run for not only a Big East Championship, but perhaps a National Championship as well. This team will also be fun to watch and will probably be featured a lot on ABC and the ESPN. Moral of the story… get ready to burn some couches.

Will We Beat Them? – No. Unless the earth freezes over, pigs can fly, and Fitzy starts liking the Yankees, I don’t think we can beat them. But hey, at least it will be a fun game. And take comfort in the fact that, chances are, you are thinner and better mannered as the WVU fans that will be in the Dome.

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