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21 West Virginia

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

We know what Will Grier [a 6'2", 204-pound transfer quarterback] can do, so we don't really need to go back and look at what he did at Florida. It's more about what he does within West Virginia's scheme. That's why it's more important to catch up on what [new offensive coordinator] Jake Spavital did at Cal. [Head coach] Dana Holgorsen says he's going to let Spavital call all the plays, but we'll see. Dana's a genius with his version of the Air Raid. They've got a really good back [in 6-foot, 202-pound senior Justin Crawford], and they'll use him to wear you out late in a game. They lost some dudes that could go at receiver, but they've still got some fast, skilled guys. [KA'RAUN] WHITE [who's a 6'1", 197-pound senior] can play, and [6'3", 201-pound junior David Sills V] has done some good things.

On defense they lost a ton of players, but what gives you trouble is DC Tony Gibson's scheme. The front doesn't present as anything. Is it a 3--4? Is it a 3-3-5? It's just some guys moving around, and then they jump into their gaps at the snap and you have to figure it out. That middle linebacker [Al-Rasheed Benton, 6-foot, 237-pound senior] is always around the ball. On the back end they always seem to have long, big guys. Their hybrid safety [Kyzir White, 6'2", 218] is pretty versatile.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % (45TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT (23RD)

COMPLETION % (36TH)

YARDS PER CARRY (31ST)

SACKS ALLOWED (51ST)

TURNOVERS LOST (82ND)

POINTS PER DRIVE (46TH)

YARDS PER PLAY (26TH)

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % ALLOWED (72ND)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT ALLOWED (104TH)

COMPLETION % ALLOWED (44TH)

YARDS PER CARRY ALLOWED (55TH)

SACKS (84TH)

TURNOVERS GAINED (24TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE ALLOWED (34TH)

YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED (57TH)

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING

50

The Mountaineers open with Virginia Tech (9/3) in Landover, Md., a critical test for the Big 12. But if WVU hopes to compete for the league title, it'll need to win at least two of three against Oklahoma State (10/28), at Kansas State (11/11) or at Oklahoma (11/25).

THE PLAYER TO KNOW

WILL GRIER went 5--0 at Florida as a freshman in 2015, before he was suspended for a year after a positive NCAA drug test. Instead of waiting in Gainesville, Grier transferred to Morgantown, where he takes over an offense that brings back dynamic senior runner Justin Crawford (1,184 yards, 7.3 per carry) but not much else. Grier will have to help a new crop of receivers develop and hope a revamped offensive line that once again features 6'5", 308-pound junior tackle Yodny Cajuste—he missed last season with a right ACL tear—can protect and open holes. Grier's not a runner, though. "He's a better pocket passer," says coach Dana Holgorsen. "He's tall. He can go through his reads, and he can make every throw."