WVU Expert Q&A: Part 3

The final installment of our Q&A with West Virginia expert Kevin Kinder, a writer/web publisher for Blue & Gold News (BlueGoldNews.com), the leading source for West Virginia sports.

What are some new wrinkles we might see from West Virginia this season, that the Badgers didn't see on the field last fall?

Kinder: How about winning the game? (laughs)...WVU will be able to do a lot more in their defensive fronts and schemes. Last year was the third new defense in three years for WVU, and the confusion showed early on. This year they should be more comfortable, and able to do more things. Hopefully we'll have a pass rush so Sorgi can't stand back there for 10 seconds like he did last year.

Offensively, you'll still get a number of multiple wide receiver looks and the same hurried pace, but that doesn't mean much unless WVU can keep the Badger defense on the field. That's something the Mountaineers did as the season progressed last year, and opposing defenses did get tired at times. WVU will use its stable of backs early and often, though - that's the strength of the team.

What were the major storylines that developed during spring football? Did anything occur that took Mountaineer fans by surprise?

Kinder: The emergence of sophomore walk-on Bryan Wright was a big one. He's about 5-7, but he had at least three long touchdown runs during scrimmages. If the field wasn't so crowded there, he would be generating even more notice.

Position experiments in the secondary were also an item of interest. Free safety Jahmile Addae was moved down to the bandit (a strong safety-like position that has pass coverage responsibilities.) Cornerback Brian King moved to free safety, where he split time with Anthony Mims. Mims, King and Jones also got reps at cornerback. A final decision on who plays where probably won't be made until the first week of fall.

Wide receiver Miquelle Henderson, the steadiest of the pass catchers, broke a bone in his leg in the latter part of spring. He's expected to be fine and ready to go in August, but you never know with injuries.

West Virginia was 6-1 at home last season, and the season opener against Wisconsin is in Morgantown. How much will the home field advantage play into this game?

Kinder: Big, especially if it's a night game as is being worked on. I know Wisconsin has big crowds and plays in front of big crowds, but WVU crowds are really rowdy. Combine that with opening day, and a possible night game, and it will be loud. Really loud.

It's only June, but give us your early prediction on how the Wisconsin-West Virginia game will go down? Will the Mountaineers exact some revenge for last year's defeat?

Kinder: Can I hold off on this until after the first week of fall? Seriously, it's going to be tough. I'd like to see what our lines and new receivers look like before I make a prediction. I will say this - I have a lot of respect for Wisconsin and Barry Alvarez. If you guys had a young team, then I think opening on the road might be a problem. However, you have enough vets that should be able to keep you steady during rough spots. On the other side, I don't think WVU will have the meltdown like they did last year in the seocnd quarter.

I think it will be a close game that will come down to a couple of things. 1) Can you stop WVU's running game, and 2) Can WVU get enough of a pass rush to keep Sorgi from throwing for 300 yards? I wish this game would be in October, because I think WVU will improve a lot as the season goes along.

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