Now that the 2020 season is mostly wrapped up, we can begin to look ahead to what will be a long and likely difficult offseason. The world will still be dealing with COVID-19 by the time spring ball comes around, so for the sake of our mental we will not look that far ahead. In the meantime, we will look ahead to the period of time between now and when the Mountaineers will reconvene to begin the 2021 season.
Changes are not certain to happen for the Mountaineer Football team in that time frame, but if they do, we have a list of just exactly what we’d like to see happen to the Mountaineer program.
Here is every Mountaineer fan’s wishlist for the 2021 offseason.
- A new offensive coordinator: Though the offense took a step forward in 2020, it was what ultimately held the team back. Play-calling at times was head scratching, and the team would often become stagnant at crucial times of the game. During the previous regime, Dana Holgorsen realized the best thing for the team was to bring in a new play-caller. Neal Brown needs to follow a similar blueprint. Brown and Gerad Parker split play-calling duties this season, per reports. But if this program is going to take the next step offensively, it may be time to bring in another mind. Even if that means having to relieve Parker of his duties.
- An experienced wide receiver transfer: WVU’s biggest problem on offense was the inexperienced receiving corps. Though they have potential, players like Sam James and Bryce Ford-Wheaton have yet to completely take over the aerial attack for the team. I feel this is because they just aren’t ready for that yet. The NCAA transfer portal will be loaded with experienced talent at the receiver position, as it always is. Neal Brown should take a look into the portal and see if he could potentially find some help to inject life into the corps. At least to take some pressure off of the young guys in 2021.
- Make Jordan Lesley THE defensive coordinator: WVU operated without a defensive coordinator in 2020, and it worked. However, that unit still needs that unquestioned voice leading the pack. Jordan Lesley helped manage the WVU defense in 2020, and has the most experience as a defensive coordinator on the staff, albeit at the junior college level. The players love him, and he would easily be the best choice for the position moving forward.
- Find a better second option behind Leddie Brown: The biggest surprise for the Mountaineers in 2020 has been the emergence of Leddie Brown. However, the drop off on the depth chart behind him is significant. Alec Sinkfield was serviceable as a backup, but just couldn’t quite live up to the success of Brown. Having a better second punch at running back behind Brown would help make the offense more versatile moving forward. Whether this means continuing to rep young guys like A’various Sparrow, or to look into the transfer portal, WVU has to see improvement at the running back position when Leddie Brown isn’t on the field.
- Stick with your quarterback: There’s nothing wrong with a little competition. But when that competition is simply uncalled for, then it becomes annoying. This year, Jarret Doege and Austin Kendall slugged it out for the starting quarterback position. We saw what the two brought to the table the year prior, and the general consensus was that Doege would be the starter – and he was. In 2020, Doege has done nothing to lose his starting position. Therefore, opening yet ANOTHER quarterback competition would be meaningless. Stick with your quarterback, and commit to Doege before things even begin. We don’t need another offseason speculating what the signal-caller position will be for the Mountaineers.
- Find a consistent kicker: The most annoying thing in football is an inconsistent kicker. Between Evan Staley and Casey Legg, WVU has been okay at best at kicker. They will not wow you with their leg strength or accuracy, and have at times been unreliable. If neither can step up and show that they have the ability to take over the position and become a game-changer, it may be time to bring in more competition. There will certainly be kickers in the transfer portal that would be happy to have the chance to prove themselves at WVU.