West Virginia's team has talent. Maybe not talent to challenge for a national championship, but certainly enough to challenge for a Big East title.
Smith fared well as a freshman last season, completing 32-of-49 passes for 309 yards. Keep in mind he has pedigree, finishing No. 2 in voting for the Mr. Florida award in high school.
At tailback, there's Devine. Not much more needs to be written there. He may be the best tailback in the country. And, if he's hurt, there's an assortment of players from which Stewart can choose.
Personally, I'd go to Austin next, but WVU has Sanders, Daquan Hargrett, Shawne Alston or the big man, Ryan Clarke, who can play tailback in addition to fullback. In Clarke, WVU has power.
The Mountaineers have nice slots with Sanders, who led his team in receptions last year with 72, and Austin, along with promising Bailey. Wideout Bradley Starks should be a fine deep threat, although, yes, depth is a problem there.
That offensive line?
It took knocks last season and in the spring. Pass blocking was a problem last season. But remember, all but Selvish Capers return. Those in place should recognize more this season, should communicate better and should be more comfortable with the power schemes that were blended with the zone-blocking principles last year.
Defensively, the Mountaineers should be set, if Berry can stay away from injuries and suspensions. Neild is a rock at nose. End Julian Miller should continue to blossom after recording nine sacks in 2009. Plus, redshirt freshman Will Clarke could add a new dimension at 6-foot-6, 257 pounds. On Friday, he led the second unit with eight tackles.
At linebacker, Reed Williams, the defense's de facto air traffic controller, is gone, but Thomas is on the watch list for the Lombardi Award. Pat Lazear led the team in tackles last season.
There are concerns at the safety spots, especially in terms of depth, but what coach wouldn't want Robert Sands, an All-Big East pick last season, at free? Sidney Glover is solid.
If Brandon Hogan can get his act - mostly off the field - together, he could be a stud at cornerback. Keith Tandy improved on the other side last season, although Brodrick Jenkins manned the position on Friday.
Oh, and kicker Bitancurt connected on 13-of-15 field goal attempts last season.
So, yes, there are challenges. But West Virginia's football team has a ton going for it, especially in light of its Big East peers. This team should be able to hang with or defeat Pitt, which will also sport a new quarterback. Ditto Connecticut. WVU will be home against South Florida and Cincinnati.
The opportunity is there.
And, heading into next season, it's golden.