For the first time since the 2012 season, a coach other than JuJuan Seider will be in charge of West Virginia's running backs. With the hiring of former Arizona wide receiver's coach Tony Dews, it's safe to say there will be an adjustment for both Dews and his new players as he works with his new personnel.
The good news? Dews is taking over a group that is experienced, talented and goes at least three deep, and the new running backs coach is more than impressed with what he sees out of the trio of Justin Crawford, Martell Pettaway and Kennedy McKoy.
"I'm very excited about them. They're doing everything they're asked to do and they're working extremely hard. They have progressed very well in getting used to a new coach and a different style of coaching. I think they have done a really good job in the meeting room in understanding what we're trying to do and they pay attention to detail. I'm starting to see some of that transition onto the field where in my opinion, they were already pretty darn good and very well coached. I'm fortunate to inherit some guys like that."
Each one of the returning backs has rushed for 100 yards in a game and the expectations are especially high for Crawford, who is coming off of a year in which he rushed for 1,196 yards and four touchdowns. Dews hopes that the senior back can build on that and potentially improve those numbers in the coming season.
"(Crawford's main focus) should be to continue to build on last season. He has a tremendous work ethic and now he needs to continue to develop and grow in the attention to detail part of the game."
Basically, for a returning player who has played in several games, Dews feels the focus should be on the little things that can end up making a big impact. While Crawford will hone in on the little things, true freshman Tevin Bush will be focusing in on the big picture as he tries to acclimate to the strength program, the playbook and living the college life a a whole. But despite the fact that everything is so new, Dews feels good about the potential of the young back.
"Tevin is doing well," said Dews. "He's taking it all in in the meeting room and it's all new to him but he's transitioning very well in my opinion. He's gotten acclimated to school and he's doing all of the things right in the weight room and off the field. He's taking it all in and you're starting to see that transition on the field. He's starting to make some plays when he gets the ball in his hand. We're excited about the progress but we're nowhere close to where we want to be in terms of a finished product."