There are a number of people who are touting WVU's 2012 passing attack as the best in the country or the best in school history. And they may be right. Tavon Austin might be the most explosive player to ever don the Old Gold and Blue (and yes, I realize Pat White, Steve Slaton, Amos Zereoue, Danny Buggs and a few other guys might have something to say about that). But he's a legit All-American candidate at a school that hasn't had very many All-Americans. And Stedman Bailey would probably be the #1 wideout on all but a handful of teams in the country. So yeah, those two guys, with Geno Smith distributing the ball, are probably the most dangerous wideout tandem we've ever had, and likely the top duo in the country as well.
But who's the third option? Seriously. When I was in school, I had several options. If options 1 and 2 were busy or uh, tied up, I had options 3 and 4, and usually 5 and 6. It pays to have options. It helps you score. And Dana Holgorsen knows about options. He gets that the more options you have, the easier it is to score. He prefers to have 4 and 5 options in play at the same time. Sure, options 1 and 2 are preferable. But if they have a man on them, you check down to options 3 and 4 and sometimes 5. But usually option 5 is just there to distract your competition---3 and 4 is where you really make hay. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and option 5 is sometimes, well, an option. Or if someone is hurt, option 6 starts looking better and better. You just never know which option you'll go with. And WVU simply doesn't have any proven options beyond Austin and Bailey.
Last year's third-leading receiver, Ivan McCartney? Not even on the depth chart at the moment. Stalwarts Devon Brown and Tyler Urban? Gone to graduation. Willie Millhouse, who made some clutch catches and scored a touchdown in the Orange Bowl? No mas. JD Woods has had a few moments, I guess. But he's been far from consistent. Ryan Nehlen is always listed in the rotation, but does he really scare anyone who plays defense in the Big XII? After Austin, Bailey, and McCartney (did I mention he's not even on the depth chart right now?), if you take out players who graduated and running backs, there are a total of 12 receptions left. TWELVE. Not Big XII (actually 10) but like, a dozen. 7 by JD Woods and 5 by Nehlen. Solid. Or not.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think the cupboard is bare. It's just that when I run out of Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles I don't want to have to resort to Fiber One and Corn Flakes. Give me something decent. Frosted Flakes are solid. Even Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Anything with some sugar on it, baby. Hopefully one of the youngsters can step up and be at least a little tasty...like Froot Loops. Everyone loves Froot Loops, right?
Jordan Thompson, he of the intimidating nickname "squirt"? Hopefully he can squirt through opposing defenses for 40-some catches and a handful of touchdowns. The esteemed Travares Copeland? Buddy, if you can snare, oh, 25 balls for 300 yards and 4 TDs, I'll buy your jersey next year. Devonte Robinson and Mathis, Cody Clay, KJ Myers, Dante Campbell - hello, welcome to Morgantown. Now, our operation is small, but there's a lot of room for "aggressive" expansion. So, which one of you fine gentlemen would like to be the third receiver on our team?? Oh, there's only one spot open right now, so we're gonna have . . . [breaks pool cue over knee] . . . tryouts! Make it quick. No, really. The quicker we can establish a third or fourth receiver, the more our offense becomes exponentially dangerous. No pressure or anything.
Bottom line, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are amazeballs. Really. I'll be holding my breath every time they get the ball. I may pass out and need to be resuscitated by the nearest cheerleader with a nice tan and a set of Michelins, but dammit, I'm holding my breath. But after that, our depth is seriously lacking. We need playmakers in the worst way, and we need guys who can step up when those guys get tired or, Heaven forbid, injured. And at this point, we don't have those guys. So in the third quarter on Saturday when we're up by 175 points, I'll be watching to see who steps up. If I'm not dizzy or passed out from holding my breath, that is.