Success Through Transition

West Virginia's seniors have been through a world of change over the last four years. Despite that, the Mountaineers have been able to deal with transition in a way few athletes can.

Take senior defensive tackle Julian Miller for example; he's been through three head coaching changes after being recruited by Rich Rodriguez in 2007, coached by Bill Stewart from 2008-2011 and then Dana Holgorsen this season. What has been consistent for Miller has been defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich.

Senior left tackle Don Barclay has been through three head coaches (Rodriguez, Stewart, Holgorsen), three offensive coordinators (Calvin Magee, Jeff Mullen and Holgorsen) and three offensive line coaches (Greg Frey, Dave Johnson and Bill Bedenbaugh). To be consistent through all of that is a task in itself.

Senior cornerback Keith Tandy has played for three head coaches (Rodriguez, Stewart, Holgorsen) and three position coaches, too (Tony Gibson, interim cornerbacks coach Pat Kirkland for the 2008 Fiesta Bowl and David Lockwood).

This senior class has gone through three University presidents, two athletic directors, two director of football operations, two sports information directors, and the list continues.

It went through the "Golden Age" of Mountaineer football into this new age of unprecedented transition and storylines.

Those three seniors along with the other 19 in this year's WVU senior class have won a total of 34 games, which won't set any records.

These players have dealt with situations that many other college athletes would've never been able to handle, though.

The offense has gone from a speedy, spread-rushing offense to a slowed-down multiple-set offense to a speedy, air raid attack. Transition had to be expected. It was tougher than ever.

The defense has gone through less transition from the coaching position, but has lost perhaps its most talent in 2010 and had to move on.

This year's senior class won't be remembered for their historic wins, because there weren't too many to be honest.

It's hard to blame this group, though, particularly the players like Barclay, Miller or Tandy among others who have dealt with so much transition.

What they should be remembered for, instead, is the ability through such turmoil to keep the ship afloat. That's something others schools haven't been able to do.

Teams who have similar transition over the past five or six years like Boston College, Colorado, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame or Tennessee don't have close to the record that WVU does over that span. They haven't been even close to as successful.

West Virginia is still a nationally respected program for the most part. You can't say that about many of those schools above. Somehow and someway this team has dealt with the trouble its been given.

In the end, this senior class has a chance to win nine games in each of its years. It also has a chance to get to 10 wins for the first time since 2007.

That has nothing to do with the coaches. It has everything to do with the leadership from the players and their dedication. Remember that when you're cheering them on Friday evening as they run out of the tunnel.


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