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Opening camp: West Virginia

West Virginia

Schedule: Practice starts Saturday at 2:30 p.m. First day in full pads is Aug. 11.

What’s new: Not terribly much for the team that returns more starters than anybody in the conference. Quarterback Geno Smith takes over the starting duties as a true sophomore and could be key to the entire season. New assistant coach Dave McMichael has been tasked with fixing the special teams, among other things.

Key battle: Right tackle. Redshirt senior Matt Timmerman holds the job for now, but could face fall challenges. Virtually every other position is set, except punter.

New on the scene: Wide receiver Ivan McCartney could play right away for a team that needs wide receivers. Jeremy Johnson and Barry Brunetti will compete for the backup quarterback spot. Junior-college import Bruce Irvin adds depth to the defensive line.

Breaking out: Coaches and teammates rave about Tavon Austin, whose raw speed is as good as it gets. He made an impact last year, mostly on special teams. This could be the year the sophomore becomes the next great Mountaineers speedster.

Don’t forget about: Cornerback Brandon Hogan didn't always play up to his ability last season, and had some offseason issues. But if he lives up to his status as a potential lockdown cornerback, it will make an already good defense become great.

All eyes on: Smith. No doubt about it, how he develops -- especially after being limited in the spring with a foot injury -- is the major concern of fall camp and beyond.

Quoting: "There's no reason why we can't be one of the best defenses in the conference and the whole country." -- Senior linebacker J.T. Thomas.