A Very Early Look at the 2013 West Virginia Mountaineers

By Mike Atkinson
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Spring training has just begun around the college football world. Recruiting is finished and the new players will begin to find their place among the returning players.

While we are still smack-dab in the middle of the offseason, it is never really too early to begin thinking about next season.

I’d like to talk about a number of things specific to the West Virginia Mountaineers. To call this a preview of the 2013 season would be fairly foolish, so I want to avoid using that terminology. What I would like to call it however, is a basic look at the main storylines to watch for the 2013 season, who I think may be able to make an impact, as well as a possible sleeper player.

I understand this is very early, but if nothing else it will be fun to go back to this a few months from now to see how accurate, or inaccurate, I really was.

So without further ado, here is my offseason look at the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Biggest Stories Out of Morgantown:

There are quite a few stories to follow for the 2013 Mountaineer football season, the first being the battle at quarterback. The race has come down to Paul Millard, Ford Childress and Chavas Rawlins. It will be interesting to see who can have a better camp and start the 2013 season.

The second story to keep an eye on is the Mountaineer defense. The defensive staff was shaken up during the offseason as defensive coordinator Joe Deforest was demoted to co-defensive coordinator and co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson will take full control of the defense. What kind of an impact will this have? Also, the team fired defensive backs coach Daron Roberts and replaced him with Tony Gibson. The defense could be a bit better in 2013.

Also, a strong recruiting class brought in a number of highly touted individuals, so it will be interesting to see how these players are used early in their career and how they develop.

Lastly, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh left to take a job with the Oklahoma Sooners and was replaced by former Stanford Cardinal offensive line/tight end coach Ron Crook. Look for an improved line in 2013.

Players of Importance for 2013:

There are a couple of returning players that will be able to have a huge impact in 2013.

Karl Joseph returns for his sophomore season after performing better than nearly everyone on his side of the ball last season. He returns and should be even better than he was last year.

Isaiah Bruce is another defensive player who could make a big impact as he had a solid first year and looks to improve on it for 2013.

Surprise Player of the Season:

I’m going to go with Ford Childress as the surprise player on the 2013 Mountaineer squad. It’s still very early, as Childress hasn’t even earned a start, but I feel as though he could come in and make a huge impact early on in his career.

So I guess now all we can do is continue to wait for the new season to find out how all of these predictions turn out.

Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeAtkinsonRS or visit his Rant Sports Author Page.




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