(Republished from July)
By: George O’Bryan /
Nearly every sports writer and sports analyst in America is belittling WVU:
- Alabama will beat WVU by 21-points
- Alabama will beat WVU by 28-points
- WVU will win only 3-games this season
- WVU will win only 4-games this season
- If WVU is lucky and can get a few breaks they may win 6 or 7 games
- Some people are saying this is Holgorsen’s last year as WVU’s HC
- WVU’s schedule is one of the toughest in the NCAA this season, and WVU doesn’t have what it takes to make it through this schedule
Where is all this mess coming from? Who let these ‘dogs’ out? Does anyone do analysis and research, or do they just sit back and look at all last year’s statistics? The one thing I do know is that ‘statistics are for liars’. You can make statistics support any idea or argument. I prefer to use observation and facts:
- Last season WVU was devastated with injury, especially on defense. Red-shirts were burned to get enough players on the field. Players were playing new positions that they had little time to practice.
- This caused players to make mistakes and to second guess what they were doing. Players struggled as they played one position one week and the next week they were playing a completely different position.
- They had to try and remember a new scheme each week. The schemes and what they were supposed to do became confusing. There was no muscle memory, and instead of reacting, they had to think about what was going on and what they needed to do. Through all this they gained valuable experience.
- These players now know what it feels like to play in the Big XII. The team has needed depth at every position. The players won’t have to think about what they are doing and will be able to react. They know where each other is supposed to be and what everyone’s assignment is, and where they are supposed to be on the field for each scheme.
The team going on the field this year is much more prepared and ready to play than the team that went on the field last season.
- Offensively, WVU was even worse last year. Players were practicing with three starting QBs – two of which were hurt. Each had a different style of play which made blocking for any one of them a night-mare.
If an offensive lineman forgot who the QB was he didn’t get the block he should have. Missed blocks were standard play last year.
- Young receivers were also having to think about everything they were doing: running the right route, not cutting a route off, not taking a route too deep, and who to block and when.
The offense couldn’t get its timing down. Plays were not executed as quickly as they had been in previous years, thus slowing down the tempo.
- We saw Trickett on the field with his arm dangling, grimacing in pain, and the injury affected his passing. The same thing happened with Childress and the torn muscle in his chest.
These guys were gutsy and they wanted to win, but their bodies were unable to allow them to play at a high level.
When Alabama looks at last year’s film this is the team they will see. What they won’t see is the experience gained from all this. They will not see a team that has been working with an established starting QB, and a team with much improved timing. WVU will be a completely different team when they face Alabama.
- Alabama is basically preparing for the unknown. They will have no clue as to what is coming at them. Faced with a different defensive scheme, Alabama will be making adjustments all game.
- With an improved Mountaineer offense, Alabama’s defense will also be making adjustments. And just one Alabama defender out of place could reap big rewards for the WVU offense.
- The Mountaineers will put pressure on Alabama’s QB, and they will cause turn-overs. This defense is hungry, and they want to chew up the big ‘elephant’.
- They want to chew Alabama up in small bites, and occasionally take a big bite. Hungry football players eat a lot, and this group will arrive in Atlanta, GA starving.
I predict a low scoring game with neither team winning by more than 7 points. That is, unless WVU comes out like they did against Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl or Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
WVU could take this game from Alabama early. I remember going into these Bowl Games with a nation of college football fans, along with every sports analyst and sports writer, saying WVU shouldn’t even be on the same field as these teams.
They were formidable opponents, and yet, WVU won these games big. Thus, “Make No Doubt” that WVU “Will Leave No Doubt” on the field this day.