Big 12 Wire: West Virginia building on success

By Amon Kehr

Sports Blogger

@theozoneonline

 


(Devin L. Wilber, O’Colly)

West Virginia is entering its seventh season under coach Dana Holgorsen and its sixth in the Big 12. The Mountaineers’ third-place finish last season was their best since entering the conference. While under Holgorsen, West Virginia has a record of 46-31 and has reached a bowl game in five of its last six seasons. Although Holgorsen has kept the Mountaineers competitive, they still have not fully cemented their place in the Big 12. Being separated geographically from the rest of the conference has not helped West Virginia fit in. West Virginia needs continued success to maintain its place in the conference.

Coming into this season, West Virginia will have to deal with the loss of quite a few players on both sides of the ball. The Mountaineers will have to replace two of their top receivers in Daikiel Shorts Jr. and Shelton Gibson, who are now in the NFL. Another key piece to their offense no longer there is quarterback Skyler Howard. Will Grier looks set to take over for Howard in 2017. Grier, a Florida transfer, is coming off a one-year suspension for testing positive to performance-enhancing drugs. Despite the one-year suspension, Grier does have 161 attempts and 1,204 career yards for Florida. Holgorsen seems to be putting his trust in Grier as well as senior running back Justin Crawford.

West Virginia will begin its season Sept. 3 in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech. The rest of its non-conference schedule includes games against East Carolina and Delaware State.

The Mountaineers will begin Big 12 play in Lawrence on Sept. 23 against Kansas.

Schedule

Sept. 2: at Virginia Tech

Sept. 9: East Carolina

Sept. 16: Delaware State

Sept. 23: at Kansas

Oct. 7: TCU

Oct. 14: Texas Tech

Oct. 21: at Baylor

Oct. 28: Oklahoma State

Nov. 4: Iowa State

Nov. 11: at Kansas State

Nov. 18: Texas

Nov. 25: at Oklahoma

ozone@ocolly.com

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