MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–West Virginia’s explosive offense lost many key components from last season’s team with the exception of the offensive line and the running backs. The Mountaineers return four extremely talented backs that have shown plenty of electricity.
With that being said, the center of the offense is ready to gain experience and is not overly concerned with the loss of experienced players shifting up.
“Besides the o-line, I think the running back room has the most experience,” senior Kennedy McKoy said. “We’re kind of like, I don’t want to say the biggest part but we’re seeing ourselves as the heartbeat of the offense. We try every day to get people going.”
Mckoy and senior Martell Pettaway lead the backs. However, sophomores Leddie Brown and Alec Sinkfield have proven they are just as valuable.
McKoy was WVU’s leading rusher last season with 145 carries for 802 yards, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and a team-leading eight touchdowns. He also had 17 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown.
Petteway was second on the Mountaineers with 623 yards on 97 carries, averaging 6.4 yards per carry and six touchdowns.
Despite being a true freshman last season, Brown turned lots of heads and earned significant playing time. The 5-foot-11, 211-pounder registered 446 yards and four touchdowns. Also, he added two catches for 40 yards with a touchdown.
Sinkfield saw action in five games but missed several due to an ankle injury. He finished with 19 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown.
And the squad is ready to improve on last season’s numbers.
“We’re putting in a lot of work this offseason,” McKoy said. “I see a lot of good things coming. There was a bunch of changes that went on around here and everybody is taking it well. I see a lot of good things coming. We’re going to let people say what they say.”
The biggest emphasis is to be the best they can be on the field.
“Since we are one of the most experienced groups that are on the team, we have a lot of people looking up to us,” McKoy said. “A lot of people are looking at us to show them the way.”
With the running back room being experienced, they know what weight lies upon their shoulders and they work together as a group.
“We all take responsibility,” McKoy said. “We all know what we have to get done so there is no competition as to who is the leader in the room or nothing like that. We all have proven ourselves and we all listen to each other. Just tries to encourage and guide them.”
For incoming freshman, the biggest thing is to develop trust.
“Trust the process,” McKoy added. “Nobody in the building is going to tell you anything that is going to hurt you. Everybody is trying to help you. You just need to listen and take everything in. Be a sponge, soak everything in and look at the old guys to teach you the ways.”
Despite all the changes around the program, McKoy thinks things are heading in the right direction for the upcoming season.
“I think everybody is settled in,” he said. “Everybody is buying into what coach Brown is trying to turn this program into.”
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS