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The Emergence of Will Johnson

Since 2001, passing at Mountaineer Field has been few and far between. Really, only Chris Henry could be considered a star receiver under Rich Rodriguez. On a lesser scale, Miquelle Henderson and Brandon Myles had some success at the position. And occaisionally, Travis Garvin would make a catch in space and run like he stole something -- which, we would find out years later, was especially appropriate.

But within that lack of a passing game, there lay an even bigger hole in WVU's playbook: anything involving a tight end. Sure, we would insert a TE as a glorified offensive lineman, but very, very rarely did one ever catch a pass. Besides annoying the hell out of me, it also allowed the defense to focus on one less offensive threat.

Well, opposing defenses, the TE is alive and well in Morgantown. Thank Will Johnson.

Had it been six months ago when Will Johnson was asked to move from wide receiver to tight end his reaction may not have been favorable. If you are a football player and you want the ball in your hands, going to Siberia for the summer may be much more appealing than playing tight end the way West Virginia used them in the past.

But today with Jeff Mullen spreading the football around like jelly and Associate Head Coach Doc Holliday now working with the tight ends/fullbacks, the sun is once again shining on those West Virginia tight ends. Trade in your full-cage face masks and your number 74 jerseys, WVU's tight ends are back in business.

Hallelujah says Johnson.

"I’m excited about it now because I’m getting the ball a lot. I’m catching onto it. It is fun and I like it," Johnson said after Saturday’s practice.
Not only is Will Johnson playing TE, he's also getting reps at departed Owen Schmitt's FB position, making him more of an H-back.

Personally, when I think recent college H-back, I think of Vernon Davis, the do everything standout at Maryland. Now, I'm not saying Johnson has Davis potential, but if he brings just half as much talent to the position, WVU will be a much more dangerous offense.