Friday, April 19, 2013
What to watch: West Virginia spring game
By David Ubben
Four Big 12 teams will kick off their spring games this weekend. We'll be offering up a preview of each throughout the day.
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
What you need to know:
What to watch:
- Tickets are $10 each.
- Defense will wear blue, offense will wear gold.
- The quarterback battle. There's not going to be much settled in this race on Saturday. It's still too close to call, and I'm betting even a dominant performance by Ford Childress or Paul Millard won't be enough for Dana Holgorsen to designate one a starter. Still, this will be one of the first times they take meaningful (in the most relative sense of the word) snaps with a real crowd in the stands at Milan Puskar Stadium. I expect both to put up really good numbers, but just how they do it should be fun to watch.
- No defensive busts. That was the name of the game for West Virginia's defense last season. Keith Patterson is in charge of playcalling now, and can his maturing defense keep from losing guys over the top? Will it take notice when a running back leaks out of the backfield? Can it make tackles in the open field? All of that was problematic for the Mountaineers last season, but we might be able to see some flashes of progress this time around.
- Where are the playmakers? Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey have gone on to fry bigger fish (and cornerbacks) in the NFL, and a slew of transfers means WVU is looking for a lot of new faces in the passing game. Sophomore KJ Myers broke through to earn a starting spot for now at one receiver position, joined by juco transfer Kevin White and inside receiver Connor Arlia. Jordan Thompson has been passed up on the depth chart by Arlia after a big spring and quiet fall, but there will be a lot of passes to go around. We might get a clearer picture of how this will shake out after Saturday.