West Virginia's Seniors Have Seen Program At Its Best And Worst

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia’s 20 seniors will take the field at Milan Puskar Stadium for the last time against Iowa State, with six being fifth-year players who have seen the program at its best and worst.

This class in particular has special meaning to head coach Dana Holgorsen, because they were his first group of freshmen after taking over the team in 2011. After the milestone victory over Clemson in Holgorsen’s first year, West Virginia went though a disappointing patch of seasons. It didn’t live up to the hype surrounding the team in 2012 after only making it to the Pinstripe Bowl and losing to Syracuse. A 4-8 record followed in 2013, which was an all-time low after being treated with talents like Pat White and Geno Smith. 

Holgorsen has taken a lot heat since not duplicating a season like 2011. But he’s put together a strong staff, and seems to be pushing West Virginia in a positive direction for seasons to come - none of which would’ve been possible if it weren't for those same seniors.

“They are the inspiration for our whole team right now,” Holgorsen said. “They are our backbone. They went through coaching changes and conference transitions, and they have developed the program. It’s meant a lot to them. It’s meant a lot to me that they stuck it out, and they never wavered.”

“I’m glad I’m on this senior class because I'm not sure how they're going to mange without us," tight end Cody Clay jokingly said. “We’re the leaders right now, and have been for the last two or three years.”

West Virginia is not currently in contention for a conference championship, but they’ve established themselves as a competitive team in the Big 12, which is a much more acceptable outlook than in recent years.  Jared Barber has been through a lifetime of experiences at West Virginia. Barber saw action at middle linebacker as a true freshman, and even started two games. Because of injuries, his development was slowed at times, but even with his personal troubles, he stayed positive. 

“Were we little negative at times? Probably. It was hard not to be,” said Barber. “But this group of guys I'm leaving with always stuck with each other. We knew if we kept pushing and kept working we’d be alright.”

Because of that attitude he’ll be leaving the program in much better form than the past three seasons have foreshadowed.

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