West Virginia Mountaineers Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

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West Virginia Mountaineers Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the West Virginia season with what you need to know and keys to the season.

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West Virginia Mountaineers Preview
Head Coach: Neal Brown, 17-18, 4th year at West Virginia
8th year overall, 52-34, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 6-7, Conference: 4-5 

Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
West Virginia Top 10 Players
West Virginia Schedule & Analysis

Neal Brown hasn’t been able to make this work quite yet – but the production and the wins appear to be coming.

Great at Troy – with three straight ten-win seasons before coming to Morgantown – the young rising star had to do some tweaking, the team went to two bowl games in his three seasons, and now comes the pivot.

17-18 overall and 11-15 in the Big 12 over the last three seasons. That’s not quite what everyone had in mind.

Brown and the program had to get back to the recent days of Will Grier and the offense rolling up huge numbers, all while hoping for the defense to keep on building up and being stronger.

Enter offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, here comes the big passing attack, now this might be the year West Virginia can break through and become a bigger factor in the Big 12 conference title chase.

There are still some major position battles to figure out, but …

 Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
West Virginia Top 10 Players
West Virginia Schedule & Analysis

West Virginia Mountaineers Preview 2022: Offense, Defense NEXT

West Virginia Mountaineers Preview 2022: Offense

This is about to get really, really fun.

West Virginia’s offense was way too spotty. It averaged 371 yards and 25 points per game, didn’t do much of anything down the field with the passing attack, and there were way too many sacks allowed and there wasn’t enough of a push for the Big 12’s worst running game.

In comes new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell from USC, and joining in on the fun is JT Daniels – a massive recruit for USC who suffered a knee injury before transferring to Georgia.

Jarret Doege was good, but now he’s off to WKU with the addition of Daniels. The talent, the arm, and now the experience in the life of being a college quarterback are all there. Now he has to stay healthy.

Top receiver Winston Wright is gone, but Bryce Ford-Wheaton is back after catching 42 passes for 575 yards and three scores, and Sam James returns after making 42 grabs for 505 yards and five touchdowns. This might not be the most talented group in the Big 12, but it’s about to be turned loose.

The offensive line is full of all-star veterans – center Zach Frazier and guard Doug Nester are the best of the bunch – but again, there has to be more production. There’s WAY too much experience for this group to be mediocre – this is the year it’s been building to.

Leading rusher Leddie Brown is gone, but Tony Mathis is a veteran who ran for 312 yards, and Justin Johnson can move. There’s one big problem, though – no running back who ran for a touchdown last season is on the roster.

List

West Virginia Mountaineers Top 10 Players: College Football Preview 2022

West Virginia Mountaineers Preview 2022: Defense

The defense was good enough.

It wasn’t a dominant force, and it wasn’t always strong when it had to be, but it was okay against the run, allowed 350 yards per game overall, and it was great at getting off the field.

This year this group will be … interesting, at least in the secondary.

Charles Woods is back at one corner after making 29 tackles and two picks, and around him as a whole slew of new guys from the transfer portal.

Head coach Neal Brown needed parts, and he got them with Hershey McLaurin (JUCO) and Marcis Floyd (Murray State) at safety, and Rashad Ajayi (Colorado State) and Wesley McCormick (James Madison) and corner. Fall camp is going to be a battle for spots.

The linebacking corps is also undergoing an overhaul, but it’s in strong shape with the addition of Jasir Cox from North Dakota State, Lee Kpogba from Syracuse for the middle, Tirek Austin-Cave from Miami around Lance Dixon on the weakside.

The line lost Akeem Mesidor to Miami, but Dante Stills is still one of the nation’s best interior pass rushers – it only seems like he’s been producing since the Don Nehlen era – and Tajik Alston is back at one end with Jared Bartlett returning on the other. This whole group is going to be strong.

West Virginia 2022 Preview | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
West Virginia Top 10 Players
West Virginia Schedule & Analysis

West Virginia Mountaineers: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT

West Virginia Mountaineers: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats

West Virginia Mountaineers: Key To The 2022 Offense

Make the passing game more devastating.

This isn’t to dog the old parts at all. Former starting quarterback Jarret Doege came up with a whole lot of big games – with 19 touchdown passes 11 in the last five games of the regular season – and the mistakes were, for the most part, spread out.

JT Daniels, though, is a potentially special quarterback, especially with new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.

Daniels cranked up the downfield passing game when he stepped in at Georgia late in 2020, but he couldn’t keep it going after getting hurt early on last year.

Expect more big runs in Harrell’s offense, most downfield passes, and a whole lot more pop. The Mountaineers are about to be more dangerous.

West Virginia Mountaineers: Key To The 2022 Defense

More sacks, more pressure, more takeaways.

There’s too much quickness on the defensive front to not be more dangerous at getting behind the line.

The Mountaineers were hardly horrible when it came to tackles for loss, but they were way too quiet with the pass rush over the second half of last year.

The entire D has to be more disruptive with the turnovers to follow. There were just four fumble recoveries, and the 13 takeaways overall  weren’t enough to overcome the offensive inconsistencies.

West Virginia Mountaineers: Key Player To The 2022 Season

QB JT Daniels, Jr.
He skipped his senior year of high school to take over the USC starting quarterback job, had an okay first year, looked great in the first game as a sophomore, and then disaster struck – he injured his knee. Kedon Slovis took over, and that was is for LA.

He had a strange run at Georgia. The knee wasn’t quite 100% early, but Daniels was able to get the O rolling after taking over to seemingly set the tone for 2021. He suffered from a lat injury – and the Clemson defense in the opener – Stetson Bennett got on a roll, and …

West Virginia got a big-time passer. If he’s amazing, the team will be a player in the Big 12. He’s the big transfer, but …

West Virginia Mountaineers: Key Transfer

LB/S Jasir Cox, Sr.
The West Virginia defense is loaded with key transfers in the back 7/8, and Cox has the potential and talent to be one the biggest producers.

He’s not all that big, but the 6-1, 204-pound hybrid tackler gets all over the field with 110 tackles with three sacks, seven tackles for loss, and three interceptions and ten broken up passes over the last two seasons.

He’ll be everywhere.

West Virginia Key Game To The 2022 Season

at Pitt, Sept. 1
There will be a whole slew of wild and fun Big 12 games this season, and going to Virginia Tech will be interesting, but all eyes will be on the opener to see how the offense works.

Talk about setting a tone and getting an early attitude, this should be it.

Pitt will try to prove it can keep its offense rolling with former USC starting QB Kedon Slovis taking over, and West Virginia looking to show that it’s about to crank up a huge year with its own former USC starter under center.

West Virginia Mountaineers: 2021 Fun Stats

– Fumbles: West Virginia 23 (lost 8) – Opponents 14 (lost 5)
– Red Zone Scores: West Virginia 45-of-50 (90%) – Opponents 35-of-50 (70%)
– West Virginia 1st Quarter Scoring: 104 – 4th Quarter Scoring: 53

West Virginia 2022 Preview
Offense, Defense Breakdown
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
West Virginia Top 10 Players
West Virginia Schedule & Analysis

West Virginia Mountaineers Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT

West Virginia Mountaineers Season Prediction, What Will Happen

There are a few transformations happening in the Big 12 – like, in the conference as a whole – but West Virginia might be the funkiest of the bunch.

No one will predict much out of this team – the schedule is too tough, there’s a huge overhaul being done in the secondary and at linebacker, and the ground attack is a question mark. But if this offense and passing game work like they’re supposed to, then good luck trying to figure out the Mountaineer regular season win total.

This team should be able to hang with anyone and everyone.

Set The West Virginia Mountaineers Regular Season Win Total At … 6.5

At Pitt, at Virginia Tech, at Texas, at Texas Tech, at Iowa State, at Oklahoma State.

There’s a shot that West Virginia is the underdog in all six of its road games. Now throw in Oklahoma, Baylor, and revamped TCU in three key home games, and this will be a weekly grind.

The Mountaineers should beat Kansas and Towson at home, and it will win its share of 50/50 home games, but it’s all going to come down to those road dates.

They’ll get to six wins and bowl eligibility, but they’re going to be looking for more than just getting by.

The first seven-win season since 2018, though, would be a good step considering this slate.

West Virginia 2022 Preview
Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
West Virginia Top 10 Players
West Virginia Schedule & Analysis

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Story originally appeared on College Football News