• By Tony Caridi
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  • May 13, 2011 07:34 AM
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Mountaineer season football tickets are selling at a near-record pace. The always-optimistic fans are even more optimistic about the coming season, and even the Debbie-downers have a twinkle in their eye. Heck, even the national pundits are cozying up to the Mountaineers. Why? Well here are seven reasons why I think the love level is high for the beloved Gold and Blue.

1.) The Mountaineers new offense is still an infant in the world of schemes. In short, it hasn’t been around long enough yet to be solved or even slowed. That’s why it's been one of the nation’s most productive point producers during Dana Holgorsen's last two stops at Houston and Oklahoma State.

2.) Geno Smith is the quarterback. This is an offense designed for a highly accurate quarterback who doesn’t have happy feet. Say hello to Geno Smith. This offense is perfectly suited for Geno’s strengths and stays away from something he does just OK, and that is run.

3.) Tavon Austin has household name potential. I’m a firm believer that great teams have a couple of guys that are household names outside of your state’s borders. I think Bob the college football fan in Denver will know Tavon Austin by the middle of October. Great teams have an attraction; Tavon Austin is an attraction.

4.) The crunch ’em philosophy. Dana Holgorsen isn’t known for sitting on a lead. He’s in the Bobby Bowden camp of … my job is to score and your job is to stop me. The possibility that points will be scored with great regularity and with little mercy makes people excited. Since 2002, WVU is 68-2 when scoring 30 or more points in a game.

5.) The defensive coaching staff returns. Despite heavy graduation losses, Mountaineer fans realize that WVU’s defensive staff is among the nation’s best. It’s only a matter of time before coordinator Jeff Casteel and crew mold another unit that will be good enough to win.

6.) Bruce Irvin is comfortable. We all saw toward the end of last season what a disruptive force Bruce Irvin was to opposing offenses. All indications are that Irvin has now grown comfortable with the Mountaineer scheme. A great edge rusher can mask WVU’s lack of experience early in the season.

7.) The schedule is favorable. Five of the first six games are home, and a total of seven, including the Pitt game, will take place in Morgantown. The Mountaineers are 19-2 under Bill Stewart at home.

Thus, seven compelling reasons why Mountaineer football fans should be optimistic. We'll see you at Milan Puskar Stadium this fall.

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