Bruce Feldman has always been, to me, a very straight forward analyst who doesn’t sugar coat things but provides great analysis. WVU Sports asked Feldman about the Mountaineers at Big 12 Media Days and he dropped this bomb “Their starting 22 is going to be really good. Now when you look at it on paper, without David Long early in the year, their going to be down to two starters [on defense].
Now obviously you get the guy who would have been their best player last year [safety Dravon Askew-Henry], missed all of last season. He’s going to help their secondary. I think Tony Gibson has proven he is about as good a defensive coordinator as there is in the conference. Will Grier should have a big year in this offense. You got two really good tackles. I think on paper, to me they would have been my number three team but I get when you look and only see two returning starters, or at the time three [before David Long’s announced injury], I see why there is a little bit of skepticism.”
Feldman isn’t wrong here. Most people are looking at the Mountaineers, wondering if they can replicate their 10-win season from a year ago. The team lost all three defensive linemen and 5/6ths of their starting secondary. That is normally a huge blow to teams and would indicate a regression for normal teams, but Tony Gibson has proven he can create a defense that doesn’t need to rebuild. Last year the defense saw the loss of all three linebackers plus 5/6ths of their starting secondary. All Tony Gibson did was lead the conference in turnovers generated while producing another top defensive unit.
Feldman is a big fan of Will Grier, Jake Spavital and head coach Dana Holgorsen. Check out the entire interview and bask in the glow of Feldman loving on the Mountaineers.