For the past two years, West Virginia’s defense has been its saving grace.
The Mountaineers held five opponents under 20 points last year – a strategy that’s sure to win games in the Big 12, considering how the conference is full of offensively focused teams. In 2015, the Mountaineers were even better on defense, posting two shutouts and holding two other teams below 10 points.
Here’s the catch. The Mountaineers have to replace a ton of starters for the third straight year. Fortunately, head coach Dana Holgorsen doesn’t think that’ll be a huge problem.
“How are we going to replace eight starters on defense? Well, the same way we have for the last two years – with guys who’ve been in the program and with guys who know what to do,” said Holgorson in an interview with 247Sports’ Mike Casazza.
It’s hard not to trust Holgorson at this point. He and defensive coordinator Tony Gibson have had to do this for the past three seasons. This could be dismissed as simple “coachspeak” from just about anyone else on the planet, but not from Holgorson. He has the track record to prove it.
The Mountaineers open their season at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., against Virginia Tech on Sunday, Sept. 3.