I wish I could rewind the clock and write last year's article this year. It would have been easy: "Tavon Austin is amazing and will provide electric returns all year long." End of article. This year, I don't have any idea what to expect. Will we use one of our talented running backs (Dreamius Smith, Charles Sims, Dustin Garrison, Andrew Buie, Wendell Smallwod) as a return man? Could freshman Daryl Worley crack the lineup as a returner? At this point, your guess is as good as mine.
What I do know, or at least think I know, is that Josh Lambert will be our kicker. Unfortunately, he has no game experience, but his leg strength is there. At this point, none of our kickers have game experience, so that is really a moot point. Lambert may also kickoff, but Mike Molinari (also the likely holder) will compete for that spot on the roster.
Nick O'Toole (P), a JUCO transfer will give the ball a boot when the offense can't produce a first down and is out of Lambert's range. Averaging 42 yards per punt as a freshman at Fullerton (Calif.) Community College, O'Toole will be counted on to turn the field around and pin opponents deep this season.
Snapping to both the kicker and punter will be sophomore John DePalma.
Will WVU enjoy another strong return game this year? Will our kicker be able to give use 3 points in critical situations? Will our punter be able to pin opponents deep when our offense isn't putting 7 on the board? Will we be able to put 7 on the board, or will we have to settle for 6 each time out? I have no idea. Joe DeForest has no idea. Only time will tell. This is one of those situations where I will be happy to limit turnovers, maybe create a few during the season, and make more field goals than we miss. Anything after that is a bonus.
As always, Let's GO!