Commentary

Early WVU preview

The Mountaineers return one of the nation's most-explosive offenses

Updated: June 29, 2012, 9:01 AM ET
By Carter Strickland | HornsNation

[+] EnlargeDana Holgorsen
Douglas Jones/US PresswireWest Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, left, and QB Geno Smith rolled up big points in an Orange Bowl win in 2011.
Editor's note: HornsNation will count down to the start of fall camp by taking an in-depth look at each team Texas will face in 2012.

The rundown

2011 record: 10-3

Last meeting vs. Texas: WVU won 7-6, in Austin, in 1956

All-time vs. Texas: 0-1

Top returners: Geno Smith (QB), Tavon Austin (WR), Stedman Bailey (WR), Darwin Cook (DB), Terence Garvin (DB), Broderick Jenkins (DB), Josh Jenkins (OL), Joe Madsen (OL)

Key losses: Najee Goode (LB), Julian Miller (DL), Eain Smith (DB), Keith Tandy (DB), Don Barclay (OL), Tyler Rader (OL)

Statistical leaders

Rushing: Dustin Garrison 136 rushes for 742 yards and 6 touchdowns

Passing: Geno Smith 346-of-526 for 4,385 yards with 7 interceptions and 31 touchdowns

Receiving: Tavon Austin 101 catches for 1,186 yards and 8 touchdowns

Tackles: Darwin Cook 85

Sacks: Terence Garvin 3.5

Interceptions: Terence Garvin 2

Did you know: West Virginia's cornerbacks are coached by a Harvard Law graduate. Daron Roberts, who some might remember as the student body president at Texas in 2001, took a circuitous route to the coaching ranks. After getting his undergraduate degree from Texas in 2001, he went to Harvard for his Master and then his law degree. Instead of practicing law, Roberts sent out 164 letters and resumes to teams to try and hook on as a coach. The Kansas City Chiefs allowed him to come on a defensive volunteer coach. From there he worked his way through the pro ranks for four years before settling at WVU in 2011.

Three things to watch

1. Experience: West Virginia returns 16 starters, including nine on offense. Among that nine are the entire backfield and three wide receivers. The offense averaged 37.6 points per game and scored 50 or more points three times.

2. Another 10 spot? West Virginia has not had back-to-back 10-plus win season since 2005-2007.

3. Firepower: The Mountaineers have one of the most-explosive offenses in college football and that was on display in the 2011 Orange Bowl. West Virginia scored a record game-record 70 points, including a record 49 in the first half and a record 35 in the second quarter.

Carter Strickland | email

Reporter, HornsNation