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Storylines to Keep an Eye On For WVU-Penn State



WVU Football RB CJ Donaldson

WVU and No. 7 Penn State will open the season on Saturday night in Happy Valley. Here are some storylines to look out for before and during the week one contest.

WVU Coaches Are Paying Attention to Penn State TE Tyler Warren

WVU defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley was asked about Bruce Feldman’s Penn State freaks, he spent most of his answer talking about one player before being told he wasn’t even among the ones included on the list.

That player is tight end Tyler Warren. Lesley immediately mentioned Warren without hesitation. “44. Tight end. Good player,”  Lesley said on Monday. Most may think of Chop Robinson when they think of a great Penn State player wearing number 44, but Warren is who will keep Lesley up at night worrying about.

Lesley went into more detail on why Warren is someone who catches his eye. “Good, big, athletic, fast, can catch, can make contested catches, can block,” said Lesley.

Penn State TE Tyler Warren Worries WVU Coach More Than Other Freak Athletes

Neal Brown and James Franklin Are Playing Mind Games at QB

PSU HC James Franklin, after months of telling reporters that the position was up for grabs, still hasn’t publicly announced it, and its not looking like that will happen before Saturday’s season opener against West Virginia under the Beaver Stadium lights.

Ironically, Franklin did voice that he is operating under the assumption that WVU will be starting Garrett Greene under center. This is a day after Neal Brown also refused to publicly name his starting quarterback, even going as far as to say he will only start releasing depth charts during game weeks if other coaches agree to do it too.

It’s expected that Greene will start for the Mountaineers while Drew Allar will go for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State HC James Franklin Waiting to Name QB While Assuming WVU’s Starter

West Virginia’s Question Marks

Heading into year five with Brown, West Virginia enters the 2023 season with a lot of question marks on both sides of the ball. WVU finished a 2022 season 5-7 but won two out of their last three, beating Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Check out the biggest question marks heading into this year.

Biggest Questions Looming Over WVU Football in 2023

Is WVU’s Defense Deep Enough?

WVU’s defense took a big step back in 2022, struggling most of the season. With Dante Stills in the NFL and Charles Woods at SMU, Brown and defensive coordinator Lesley will look to Sean Martin and Aubrey Burks to step up into leadership roles.

But besides just fill voids, a lack of depth could be a concern again for the Mountaineers. After Woods went down in Week 1 last season, the team secondary was never able to find a vocal leader again. Burks may very well become that guy, but is there enough around him? Transfers have been brought in, including some like Beanie Bishop with Power 5 experience, but experts point to size and a significant drop from starters to the backups as possible issues.

Brown has voiced confidence in Lesley and the rest of the defensive coaching staff, arguing they didn’t forget how to coach from when they lead a successful defense just a couple years ago. Lesley’s plan has been to perfect the fundamentals and try to generate more turnovers. We will soon see if he sees the fruits of that labor on the field.

Watch our live standup from outside the stadium before the game.

Check out the pregame show with WVSN’s Mike Asti and NSN’s Joe Smeltzer.

WVU-PSU Preview Show: Can West Virginia Actually Beat Penn State?


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