MORGANTOWN - Perhaps this is putting the cart before the horse because, really now, we're three weeks into the season and who knows what's going to happen this year, much less next.
And, too, there are more important issues at hand, right? Like the small matter of West Virginia going to Baton Rouge and facing perhaps the most hostile environment ever faced by any Mountaineer team in any of its 100-plus years of playing football.
Just for kicks and giggles, though, let's explore a question that West Virginia is going to be faced with in a few months (and, no, we're not talking about a hearing before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, although the timing figures to match up pretty well).
No, we're talking about what the future holds for Tavon Austin, perhaps the most highly credentialed (at least from a statistical standpoint) running back ever to enroll at WVU.
Right now, though, he's not a running back. The guy is playing wide receiver. Doing a pretty nifty job there, too, wouldn't you say? He almost single-handedly sent most of his friends and relatives back in Baltimore into shock last Saturday when he ripped through Maryland in the first quarter and sent West Virginia on its way to a 31-17 win over their beloved Terps.
It wasn't an isolated incident or an anomaly, either. Give the guy the ball in the open field and watch panic sweep through defenses. There's a running joke among some in the WVU press corps any time that happens, when Austin either jukes some poor defender or races away from another.
"Boy,'' goes the chorus in the press box. "Think how good he'd be if only he had a few moves or a little speed.''
Austin, of course, has both. In abundance.
Here's the thing, though, and we all know it. The only reason Tavon Austin is playing wide receiver and catching passes is because there's this small problem with him playing tailback - Noel Devine. It's kind of like going to an open mic night with your guitar in hand only to find out that the guy on stage when you walk in is Jimi Hendrix. So you put down your ax and you sing instead.
Hendrix, though, is dead, of course. And as far as his position in West Virginia's backfield is concerned, so too will be Devine - figuratively, we mean - when the season ends and he graduates.
So what of Austin? Does he keep on singing or does he go back and pick up his guitar?
It would not be a hard question to answer were Austin not dazzling folks in his adopted role as a receiver. Devine leaves and Austin steps into the lead role at tailback, right?
Or do you leave the guy at receiver, not wanting to mess up a good thing?
"Oh, I can tell you that's not going to happen,'' West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said earlier this week. "Unless we get Superman coming here.''
But then Stewart backtracked, perhaps with the aforementioned realization that, yes, there is still a lot of football to be played this season and who knows how things will shake out after it's all over.
"Oh, I shouldn't say that,'' Stewart said. "He'll play positions because that's what he does best. When you have a guy as quick as him and with his versatility, we need to get the ball in his hands.''