Coach: Rich Rodriguez
3-8-0, 1 year
2001 Record: 3-8
at Boston College LOST 10-34
at Maryland LOST 20-32
at Notre Dame LOST 24-34
at Miami, FL LOST 3-45
at Syracuse LOST 13-24

2001 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

The linebackers have one of the better Big East names roaming from sideline to sideline in Grant Wiley.
2002 Outlook

Straight from the hip: Last season set the WVU program and fans back in terms of future hopes under this administration. The dismal 3-8 campaign under first year coach Rich Rodriguez was very disappointing, especially when you consider who the three victories were against. The mumblings have already started. In all honesty, the majority of fans ran ex-coach Don Nehlen out with constant complaining. It was difficult to sit in Mountaineer field and listen to every blue and gold ticket holder second guess and bemoan the old head coach. They got what they wanted by hiring a WVU graduate, and now are doing much the same after the rough start. The bottom line offensively is that the short passing game was totally sub par. The astronomical offensive records Rodriguez set while at Clemson were under the great Woody Dantzler regime. That QB luxury wasn't afforded last fall, but now it looks like Rasheed Marshall can be that type of guy that fits into this wide-open attack if he learns to get the passing game moving. But none of that matters if the heart of the defense cannot stop their counterparts from running the football straight down the fairway. Running back Avon Cobourne is by far the team MVP at this juncture. Team depth is the biggest problem overall. This is the year WVU will catch all of the good teams at home in the rotation. Any record above .500 has to be considered a major improvement. It won't be easy, but the new defensive system and efforts to raise the level of play should be noticeable, or else the new coaching staff may find itself in deeper water.

Projected 2002 record: 5-7

QB - 3 DL - 3
RB - 4.5 LB - 3
WR - 3 DB - 3.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Rasheed Marshall, 41-79-4, 327 Yards, 2 TD's

Rushing: Avon Cobourne, 267 att., 1298 yds., 9 TD's

Receiving: A.J. Nastasi, 42 rec., 334 yds., 3 TD's

Scoring: Avon Cobourne, 9 TD's, 54 pts.

Punting: Todd James, 32 punts, 40.7 avg.

Kicking: Todd James, 0-2 FG, 2-2 PAT, 2 pts.

Tackles: Grant Wiley, 98 tot., 51 solo

Sacks: James Davis, 8 sacks

Interceptions: 3 players with 1 each

Kickoff returns: Mike Page, 5 ret., 9.2 avg.

Punt returns: Lance Frazier, 20 ret., 8.1 avg.


OFFENSE: Brad Lewis-QB, Cooper Rego-SB, Antonio Brown-WR, Shawn Terry-WR, Shawn Swindall-WR, Brad Knell-OG, Brenden Rauh-K, Derek Jones-QB (transferred)
DEFENSE: Antwan Lake-DT, Kyle Kayden-MLB, Corey McIntyre-LB, Shawn Hackett-WHIP, Richard Bryant-CB, Rick Sherrod-FS

He ran for over 1000 yards every season since entering the program, even during the dry spell. Senior to be Avon Cobourne may not receive the recognition most athletes at high level universities receive, but his stats are undeniably one of the reasons WVU is a legit running threat. In a wide spread operation under the control of Head Coach Rich Rodriguez, Avon has the ability to catch the pigskin as well. He represents the total package, excelling at running, catching, and blocking. The spring showed more use of the power formation, locating a big fullback could really help and Moe Fofana just might be that guy. With new quarterbacks lining up for 2002, Avon's legs are going to need to carry some weight. To run this complex offensive system, the man at the helm has to be athletic and a quick thinker. Enter Rasheed Marshall, a ball player that maintains excellent speed and the ability to make decisions without hesitation. Brad Lewis was a better than descent pick for playing QB, but his game just never seemed to take hold last fall. Rasheed showed signs of growing into the sort of player coaches were searching for until breaking his wrist four games into the 2001 season. The media and fans are excited about what he brings to the table. Questions are going to remain about his throwing accuracy until proven otherwise in direct competition. He will need some of the receivers to really elevate their game. With four to five receivers lining up at times, depth gets spread a little thin. The leading ball grabber from last year is back in A.J. Natasi and Miquelle Henderson showed some positive signs in the spring. Some injuries have caused some concern. Coaches are hoping that seniors Phil Braxton and Mike Page can get back into the fold by August to add a boost of experience and overall depth. The front wall should be a definite plus the way things look. There is some size and strength, but depth could be a problem. In summation, the Mountaineer outlook will focus on three key areas if an improvement is to occur: finding a playmaker at wide receiver, locating eight solid linemen to provide depth for the scattered regulars, and obviously the throwing accuracy of Rasheed Marshall.


Returning Starters in Bold
QB Rasheed Marshall-So Danny Embick-Fr
RB Avon Cobourne-Sr Quincy Wilson-Jr
WR Phil Braxton-Sr Scott Beresford-Sr
WR Miquelle Henderson-So Dee Alston-Fr
WR A.J. Nastasi-Sr Mike Page-Sr
TE Josh Bailey-Fr Darnell Glover-Sr
OT Lance Nimmo-Sr Ben Timmons-Jr
OG Jeff Berk-So Aaron Howell-Fr
C Zack Dillow-Sr Justin Williams-So
OG Ken Sandor-Sr Geoff Lewis-Jr
OT Tim Brown-Jr Josh Stewart-Fr
K Todd James-Jr ..



The 2002 strategy is going to change. Don't look for any more eight man front schemes. The new pattern will focus more on a three-man line with three linebackers. Something had to change as the Mounties were giving up huge chunks of turf while attempting to stop the run. For all intense purposes, the pass defense finished ranked #1 in the nation last year, ahead of national champion Miami, who placed their entire defensive backfield into the early rounds of the NFL draft. The problem is that opponents were looking to avoid the aerial situation by hitting up the gut, and did so in grand fashion while notching tallies in the victory column. That could all change up front and in the middle as senior David Upchurch anchors the tackle spot. He is going to need more pass rush production from the ends before any leeway can be made. Coaches have stressed a dire need to locate some quality depth. This will be the biggest factor for WVU in the trenches. The linebackers have two of the better Big East names roaming from sideline to sideline in Grant Wiley and James Davis. That is some hefty experience, which should make life a little easier. The loss of leading tackler Kyle Kaden leaves somewhat of a gap however, and places higher priority on locating a third regular. The way the defense is structured, primarily utilizing five defensive backs, should create some star numbers for the strong safeties. Angel Estrada is back from a broken leg and early reports claim this is one of those shooting stars. The backfield did lose some big time experience as Sherrod and Hackett have departed, taking all 269 tackles from last year with them. This top rated unit from 2001 still has the pistons needed to operate on all cylinders. Plain and simple, the defense just boils down to stopping the run, finding more depth, and stopping the run. Saying that the run defense was an Achilles Heel is an understatement, and anyone remotely close to the Morgantown circle will attest. You need fresh legs in the heart of the defense to accomplish an improvement and coaches just don't have the numbers yet. With any hope, the new defensive system can alleviate some of those symptoms.


Returning Starters in Bold
DE Kevin Freeman-Sr Tim Love-Sr
DT David Upchurch-Sr Ernest Hunter-Fr
DE Jason Davis-Sr Ben Lynch-So
OLB James Davis-Sr Adam Lehnortt-So
MLB Grant Wiley-Jr Alex Lake-Fr
OLB Ben Collins-Sr Shane Graham-So
CB Brian King-Jr Anthony Mims-Fr
CB Lance Frazier-Jr Lewis Daniels-Sr
ROV Angel Estrada-Sr James Woodruff-Sr
SS Arthur Harrison-Sr Jermaine Thaxton-Sr
FS Jahmile Addae-So Lawrence Audena-So
P Todd James-Jr Mark Fazzolari-Sr

Avon Cobourne represents the total package, excelling at running, catching, and blocking while rushing for over 1000 yards in each of his three seasons.


PHOTO COMPLIMENTS OF, the complete source for Mountaineer Sports. © Copyright 2002
Coaches are hoping that senior returnman/receiver Mike Page can get back into the fold by August to add a boost of experience and overall depth.