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Way-Too-Early Red Raiders Week 8 Opponent Preview: West Virginia Mountaineers

The Red Raiders come out of their bye week in Week 8 at home against the Mountaineers.

By Week 8 of the 2022 season, the Texas Tech Red Raiders will either be in the hunt for a Big 12 Championship birth, or they will be fighting to reach bowl eligibility.

The Red Raiders will be coming out of their much-needed bye week after being on the road in back-to-back weeks against Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

We should have a good understanding of what this Red Raider team is by Week 8. Are they heading in the right direction in Year 1 under coach Joey McGuire? Are there still questions about who should be the starting quarterback?

The West Virginia Mountaineers enter their fourth season under coach Neal Brown with more questions than answers. Brown is 17-18 all time as the head coach of the Mountaineers. This is a “prove it” year for Brown and his staff.

The Mountaineers struggled on offense a season ago, scoring 25.2 points per game (9th in the Big 12). The Mountaineers finished 6-7 in 2021 with a loss to Minnesota in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

Make sure to follow along at as we preview every matchup for Texas Tech during the 2022 season.

West Virginia Mountaineers

2021 Record: 6-7 (4-5 Big 12)

Head Coach: Neal Brown

Brown enters his 4th season with the Mountaineers and holds a 17-18 overall record.

Offensive Set: Air Raid

Defensive Set: 4-2-5

Returning Starters on Offense: 6

There is optimism in Morgantown on offense after Neal Brown brought in transfer quarterback JT Daniels from Georgia. Daniels excelled as the starter at USC and Georgia, but injuries have plagued his career. If Daniels is anything like he was fully healthy at his previous stops, the Mountaineers will be improved on offense.

The Mountaineers also return all five starters on the offensive line for the first time since accurate starting production data began in 2006.

Graham Harrell, the new offensive coordinator, brings a lot of excitement to Morgantown with his Air Raid offense. Harrell led productive offenses at USC each of the last three seasons.

Projected offensive starters:

QB: JT Daniels

RB: Tony Mathis

WR (X): ​​Bryce Ford-Wheaton

WR (Z): Kaden Prather

WR (H): Reese Smith

WR (Y): Sam James

TE: Brian Polendey

LT: Wyatt Milum

LG: James Gmiter

C: Zach Frazier

RG: Doug Nester

RT: Brandon Yates

* denotes returning starter

Returning Starters on Defense: 3

Defense has been the strength of Neal Brown’s squad in each of his seasons as the Mountaineer head coach.

The Mountaineers allowed 23.8 points per game in 2021 (5th in the Big 12). Injuries were an issue all season on defense, despite a respectable product.

The Mountaineers have a lot of veteran production to replace on defense. Coordinator Jordan Lesley will have to earn his paycheck in 2022 if the Mountaineers want to match their defensive production from recent years.

Projected Defensive Starters:

DE: Taijh Alston

DT: Dante Stills

NG: Jordan Jefferson

LB: (BANDIT) Jared Bartlett

LB: (WILL) Lance Dixon

LB: (Lee Kpogba)

CB: Charles Woods

CB: Andrew Wilson-Lamp

S (SPEAR): Davis Mallinger

S (FREE): Aubrey Burks

S (CAT): Marcis Floyd

You can find Michael Gresser on Twitter @gresser_michael

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