We’re still peeling back fingers to count the number of days until the start of preseason practice here (Aug. 1) and then the regular season. The numbers are getting smaller, which is good news because we’re fixated upon the numbers. Wins, losses, tiers, quarterbacks taking reps, returning starters on the offensive line, freshmen at receiver, lettermen in the secondary, words in this sentence.
In a roundabout way, we use these facts and figures to predict and to project because the future just can’t arrive fast enough for us. And that’s why we love over/under propositions. It’s simple criteria for complex queries. It’s not as easy or as accurate as attaching one statistic to one part of a team as a way to see into a team’s future, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.
Case in point: For WVU, we spotlighted d’Vante Henry (we’re doing to need a ruling on whether we capitalize his first name … I’ve seen it both ways, even in WVU content), Brandon Golson and Dontrill Hyman and the number of sacks the three junior college transfers would combine for this coming season. If those three could get five each, then it hits the over we set at 14.5.
It’s hard to find a starting point for all that went wrong with West Virginia’s defense in 2012, but a lot of the trouble was a result of giving the quarterback too much time and comfort. The Mountaineers only had 23 sacks last season, and two came in snow in the Pinstripe Bowl.
The defensive line totaled 4.5 sacks and the team’s top three sackers all graduated, including the starting outside linebackers who had to rush because of the since-altered configuration of the defensive line. Recruiting pass rushers was a priority in recruiting and the Mountaineers invested in the three junior college players.
That said, this over/under gift has a curse, and perhaps literally. I’m not seeing Golson or Hyman anywhere and people are beginning to wonder when, or if, they’ll make it here.