West Virginia: WVU will bust out the new system for the first time in this game. Much more speed, much more passing, much more fun. However, don't let the offense fool you. When run correctly, the offense is very balanced. Last year, Kendall Hunter ran for over 1,000 yards in the Holgorsen system. So, look for Geno Smith to pass first to set up the youngsters at running back. Smith was solid in his first year starting, throwing for 24 touchdowns. His efficiency was good, but could stand to improve his accuracy. He will have many of the same targets, including Tavon Austin, who may play the role of Justin Blackmon. Stedman Bailey and Ryan Nehlen will start on the outside, and converted tight end, Tyler Urban should provide good size on the inside. The rushing attack will be interesting. Three freshmen and Trey Johnson will be fight one another for carries. The initial depth chart shows Roberts as the number one, but that may not matter. These guys will all get their opportunity to shine. The biggest question will be on the offensive line. One of the weakest groups in the conference last season, WVU's line will have to play bigger, faster, and stronger in this offense. Smith was hit far too often last season, and one hit could certainly derail the season. It will be interesting to see how this unit plays early, especially against a pretty good Marshall front seven.
Marshall: The Herd will start a true freshman at quarterback. Miami product, Rakeem Cato will get the start in his first ever game. It fits, considering the Herd offense will be inexperienced at all of the skilled positions. Martin Ward is the leading returning rusher. He finished with just 345 yards on the ground, and one touchdown. After him, Tron Martinez will get some looks. Aaron Dobson will lead the receivers. Dobson did have a nice 2010 campaign. He will lead a young receiving and tight end corp. The offensive line is a very solid bunch. Good experience, mixed with good technique is a recipe for success. The group will give Cato and the youngsters plenty of opportunities to move the football this season.