College football season is quickly approaching, and the WVU Mountaineers don’t appear to be ready yet.
With the first fame of the year for the WVU football team about two weeks away, the team is still finding its footing at fall training camp.
The Mountaineers open the season on Aug. 31 against FCS opponent James Madison. Even though WVU is the favorite to win, it’s looking like this first game could be a good test for the boys from Morgantown.
The team started fall training camp with hopes of solidifying their starting quarterback situation. Even though several players look like they have lots of potential, no one has stood out enough to win the job. With only a limited number of practices remaining before games begin, the lack of a leader at QB is concerning.
At the same time, though, there are several reasons for WVU fans to be excited about the new season. The team has plenty of young talent and could very well surprise some teams in the Big 12 this year.
Let’s take a look at how the Mountaineers’ camp is going so far and what fans should be expecting as the season arrives.
WVU running backs
Coach Neal Brown is still trying to determine who will be his starting quarterback. It seems like whoever he chooses will have a lot of help around him. The WVU running back corps offers both playmaking ability and depth and will be relied on throughout the season.
It’s promising that integral parts of the offense are returning, including:
- Kennedy McKoy
- Martell Pettaway
- Leddie Brown
The three combined for nearly 1,900 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in 2019.
Sophomore Alec Sinkfield is also in the mix for some quality playing time this season.
Having a solid group of running backs is crucial in college football, especially with the uncertainty around WVU’s quarterback. The Mountaineers will most likely lean heavily on their group of backs to take some of the pressure off the inexperienced signal-callers.
Offensive lineman Josh Sills has been overly impressed with the backs playing behind him. According to the WV MetroNews, he said:
“I think that’s the most talented room on the football team. You could put them anywhere on the field and they’re going to make a play, whether that’s wide receiver or running back. Heck, I think you could probably even put them at quarterback. They’re athletic.”
Utilizing their athletic abilities will be a focus for coach Brown and running backs coach Chad Scott. Both McKoy and Sinkfield have been moving around in different formations, including lining up at the slot receiver.
Coach Scott believes its flexibility on the field will help the WVU offense immensely. He explained:
“That’s huge, because we want to play fast. And to play fast, you have to be able to have the personnel on the field to present multiple looks. Sometimes even if it’s the same play, you’re able to present different looks because you’ve got guys who are able to play on the outside.”
The Mountaineers offense may not be as exciting or efficient as last season, but their group of backs might be able to supply the spark the offense needs.
Mountaineer transfer receivers
Another part of the offense that’s exceeded early expectations is the play of WVU’s two transfer wide receivers. Sean Ryan and George Campbell both joined the Mountaineers this offseason and are looking to make their mark in the Gold and Blue.
Ryan, 6’3”, and Campbell, 6’4”, are two massive targets which should create a lot of favorable mismatches down the field. Their size also helps bolster a receiving unit that lost leading wideouts David Sills V and Gary Jennings Jr. to the NFL.
The Mountaineers are hoping to have both available this season. The question revolves around Ryan and his eligibility after transferring from Temple in April. The team has applied for a waiver that would give him immediate eligibility, but the matter is still unresolved.
Wide receivers coach Xavier Dye has already seen the two transfers help the Mountaineers. He said:
“We’re just a young group. We needed guys to come in and challenge them. It’s helped them. Guys are doing much better because you’ve got someone behind them to push them.”
Although WVU’s first scrimmage didn’t go too well for the offense this week, Ryan and Campbell were able to catch their head coach’s eye. Coach Brown said:
“They both made plays downfield. That’s the reason we added those guys.”
Even if the Mountaineers don’t get exceptional play at the QB position, there could be enough help around to still have an offense that produces at a high rate. If there’s one thing that’s certain about the Big 12 Conference, it’s that you must be able to score some points to win.
Sports Betting on WVU Football
Although it would be considered an upset, JMU believes it can beat WVU in its season opener.
JMU enters 2019 with a lot of confidence and returning players. The Dukes are projected to contend for the FCS title this season. They actually come into the year as the second-ranked team in the FCS preseason rankings according to STATS.
The Mountaineers and coach Brown have to make sure they’re prepared as well.
Despite not having a WV sports betting app yet, bettors have been active at the WV sportsbooks. The start of the football season has re-energized the market, as college football futures helped boost the state’s overall sports betting handle recently.
WV bettors can get to one of the three retail sportsbooks that are active. These include:
As the clock continues to tick down, Mountain State residents are hoping that an online sportsbook launches soon. It will be a major inconvenience for gamblers to have to plan trips to the nearest land-based sportsbook because the state doesn’t offer any mobile betting apps.
Currently, it appears that two online options could be live in WV by the start of football. They include:
If the state can manage to get one of these on the market, there’s no telling how successful the WV sports betting industry can be.
WVU football odds
Now that the season is so close, books have lines out for college football’s week 1 action. According to DraftKings in New Jersey, WVU has the following odds for the opening week and the remainder of the year:
- WVU -5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: -200
- JMU +5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: +163
- Over 5 (-110)
- Under 5 (-110)