Are there a few players that stick out in your mind from this spring as sleepers that opposing teams might not know about yet?
Kinder: Mike linebacker Adam Lehnorrt had an excellent spring. He put up good numbers last year, but I think he will be even better this year. DB Anthony Mims was hampered all last year by hamstring problems, but appeared ready to go this spring. He could be a factor in the secondary as the coaches juggle the players around to find the best combinations.
A wide receiver who didn't practice this spring but will play this fall is WR Chris Henry. 6-5, very athletic, jumps well and has great hands. Not sure how ready he'll be in the first game, but he has the tools. Another transfer is juco star Kevin "Kay Jay" Harris. 6-2, 240 running back. Great speed. He played minor league baseball for a few years before going to a juco last year. Again, he'll have to scrape off the rust from not playing this spring, but if he can play half as good as he looks, he will be a big factor.
How does Quincy Wilson compare to Avon Cobourne in terms of running styles, and is there any dropoff at all with the departure of Cobourne?
Kinder: WVU is absolutely loaded at running back. Quincy is stronger and faster than Avon. Avon was great at reading blocks and getting every yard out of a play, but Quincy might gain more because he can run over DBs and has a high gear that Avon didn't. (Quincy's dad is Otis Wilson, who played for the Chicago Bears' super bowl team.) Add in Harris, two outstanding redshirt freshmen in Jason Colson and Erick Phillips, plus walk-on spring star Bryan Wright, and WVU has as good a stable of backs as anyone.
All that said, Avon was a great team leader and a great back (he's WVU's all-time leading rusher). Can WVU replace his leadership as well as his productivity? That's the question.
Aside from Grant Wiley, who are some of the defensive players that Coach Rodriguez expects to make a major impact this season?
Kinder: Lehnortt is one guy that has to play well. Lance Frazier is very steady as the wide cornerback - he doesn't make many mistakes, but sometimes he gets overlooked because he's not flashy. At the other corner, Adam "Pac Man" Jones has a boatload of talent, but has to improve his focus and consistency, or he won't be on the field. WVU has to improve its pass rush, and they are looking at Kevin McLee as a spot rusher. He's very young, though, and still has some learning to do to get comfortable with all the schemes. And, as we discussed earlier, the defensive line has to grow up quickly.
WVU's defense is really a team-oriented scheme. It's designed to stifle the run and force opponents to pass. Guys like Wiley stand out just because they are great football players, but the scheme isn't designed to produce stars. So, it's kind of difficult to pick out individuals. Think of the Miami Dolphins' "No-Name" defenses of the 70s and you'll be close to the mark.
WVU Expert Q&A: Part 2
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