The West Virginia Mountaineers have high hopes this season, but those hopes rely largely on their new quarterback living up to his promise as he runs an otherwise stacked offensive unit.

The quarterbacking torch is being passed to sophomore Geno Smith this season and the Mountaineers are hoping he can make some rapid strides now that he is the one calling the signals. He saw significant action against Marshall last season and responded with a 32-of-49 passing rate, 309 yards and a touchdown.

Smith will be well supported as the rest of the offense looks pretty good.

WVU is returning four players from the offensive line that did so well last season. If they can find just one coachable player, and it looks like Jeff Braun, then they should be just as strong this year.

WVU Mountaineers College Football Cheerleader

The Mountaineers an ideal rushing tandem in RB Noel Divine and FB Ryan Clarke. Divine has explosive speed that he demonstrated last season rushing for 1465 yards and 13 touchdowns on 6.1 yards per carry. Clarke, while not particularly big, is a very powerful runner who goes right through defenses shaking off tackles. He had 250 yards and 8 touchdowns while averaging 4.2 yards per carry last season. These two will give Smith a safety net early in the season as he gets accustomed to playing every down.

There will be plenty of quality targets for Smith as the Mountaineers boast a number of good receivers including a couple of taller guys in Alric Arnett and Bradley Starks whose size make them easy targets and the very speedy and versatile Jock Sanders.

Defense is going to be a bigger challenge for the West Virginia Mountaineers. They’ve lost some pass rushers from their linebacking corps and they need some players like Reed Williams and Pat Lazear to start making contributions.

They should be fine against the run, but if they don’t find someone who can put pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, they are going to struggle against the pass.

WVU Mountaineers odds to win the Big East: +300.

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