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West Virginia spring wrap

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Spring answers

From White to Brown: West Virginia loses perhaps its greatest player ever in Pat White, but the quarterback position remains in good hands with fifth-year senior Jarrett Brown. Brown eased concerns about the transition with a laudatory spring, showing off his strong arm and athleticism. Brown still has much to learn, and the depth behind him remains a problem, but the Mountaineers go into the fall with one of the better quarterback situations in the Big East.

Lyons share: Moving 6-foot-8 receiver Wes Lyons to the inside slot receiver position was done somewhat out of necessity; West Virginia was thin there with the suspension of Jock Sanders, and Alric Arnett and Bradley Starks had locks on the outside spots. The idea looked like a stroke of genius as Lyons had what Bill Stewart called "the spring of all springs." The senior looks like he's finally ready for a breakout campaign.

Fewer power outages: West Virginia's inability to pick up short yardage in key situations might have cost it the chance to go back to the BCS last season. Stewart made improving that area a top priority this spring, and for the most part, the Mountaineers looked much better in the power-running department, led by the emergence of fullback Ryan Clarke.

Fall questions

Youth up front: The Mountaineers will have one of the league's youngest and most inexperienced offensive lines in 2009. They're replacing three starters, and one of their returnees, center Eric Jobe, moved into a starting role late last season. Not surprisingly, then, the O-line was overwhelmed at times by the far more veteran defense this spring. Then left tackle Donnie Barclay suffered a leg injury in the spring game that will cost him a couple of months' worth of conditioning. This unit has to take shape in the fall, or West Virginia will have a hard time contending.

New faces in the mix: The post-spring depth chart West Virginia released contains the names of a lot of incoming recruits. That doesn't mean they'll all play, of course, but it shows that the Mountaineers are counting on several youngsters to play right away, like Tavon Austin and Deon Long, to add depth at many thin positions.

Punting and kicking: For the past few years, Pat McAfee gave the team the luxury of having one ultra-reliable guy to handle both placekicking and punting duties. Now both positions need new players. Stewart expressed unhappiness several times this spring with his kickers. Scott Kozlowski showed the ability to boom some punts but needs more consistency. The kickers, led by Tyler Bitancurt, need to keep improving this summer.