MORGANTOWN-Think you are the only one questioning yourself over how the Mountaineers will do in 2009? Think again.
Even second-year head coach Bill Stewart is anxious to see how the upcoming season unfolds.
"I don't know where this football team is, but we are going to find out," Stewart explained during Tuesday's press conference. "Like you, I want to see these young men in the arena.
"They have worked hard, and it has been physical. We have hit, and we have gotten after it, but we don't know where we are and the barometer is the other team."
That 'other' team on Saturday will be Liberty University.
The Flames are coming off an impressive 10-2 mark a year ago under head coach Danny Rocco. But, a quick perusal of the list of opponents Liberty faced shows a program that is improving, but far from being the same caliber of the old gold and blue.
"Liberty comes in here after a 10-2 record last season and we are going to find out where we are on the barometer."
What Mountaineer fans are hoping to witness is a dominant WVU defense and an explosive offensive attack that allows the coaching staff to play the bulk of its roster before the final horn sounds.
And, that's not wishful thinking.
West Virginia has enough weapons. Fifth-year senior quarterback Jarrett Brown has developed a quiet confidence that has many believing that he will step in and do an admirable job in place of four-year starter Patrick White.
Then, there is lightning quick running back Noel Devine. If the 13 opponents on last year's schedule couldn't hold him under 1,200 yards for the season, it's hard to believe the Flames' prevent unit will have any better success.
Add in a receiving corps that returns its biggest weapons from 2009 and it would be understandable if Rocco and his staff have been spending some sleepless nights preparing ways to slow down the Mountaineer onslaught.
It doesn't get any easier for the Liberty offense-which must find a way to sustain drives against a defense that is one of the best in the Big East and ranked nationally in several categories.
This unit is big, strong, fast and athletic. It has depth at linebacker and in the secondary. With seven starters back-eight if you include fifth-year senior Reed Williams-this unit is experienced and it is hard to believe that Rocco and his Flames have faced the 3-3-5 stack alignment much in the Big South Conference.
No, this game has all the makings of an early blowout. Liberty might have the talent level to knock off a No. 23 Youngstown State or a No. 12 Elon, but those are not BCS-caliber teams and despite all of the doubt surrounding the direction the Mountaineer program is headed, WVU still has to be considered a legitimate threat to reach a New Years Day bowl.
Should Saturday's game turn into a nailbiter, then that barometer Stewart and his staff is looking at will take a sudden downward drop.
Contact Jim Butta at email@example.com