By George O’Bryan –
I almost titled this, WVU Loses to ‘Bama, but instead I want to look at the positives and the negatives of the game.
WVU hung in with Alabama the first 3-quarters, but as happened so often last season they let it get away from them in the 4th quarter.
Trickett looked good. He had a couple of errant throws, but outside of that he played well. Kevin White, Jordan Thompson, Rushel Shell, Wendell Smallwood, and the OL played well except for a few miscues.
The defense played fast, but was out of position much of the game. At times they did well stopping the run, but the pass was a different story. It was obvious there were too many eyes in the backfield at times and no eyes on the Alabama receivers.
I was pleased when Daryl Worley got the interception, but not so pleased when he allowed a receiver to get behind him.
The defense has got to do a better job at defending against the pass. Alabama would get everyone on WVU defense to motion one way and then they would go the other.
Players have to stay in their lanes. Playing defense is all about not letting receivers get behind you, and playing your lanes.
WVU hasn’t had a pass defense in years, and after today, I don’t see it getting any better. What helps a pass defense is getting pressure on the QB, which WVU did at times, but they could not get a sack because no one was coming from the other side. To sack a QB, pressure has to come from up the middle and the sides.
The Mountaineers would get one or two defenders rushing from the same side, and they either missed the QB or got blocked.
Sims was able to avoid the pressure when we blitzed from only one side. We did descent getting pressure up the middle, but if I were to rate our blitzing it would be an “F”.
In the 4th quarter WVU was no longer able to stop the run, whether it was up the middle or on the edge. The linebackers were out of position to help the DL. I saw few big hits all day.
Tackling was wrapping up and dragging someone down. Where were the big hits we have seen from Karl Joseph, K.J. Dillion, and others?
Offensively, there were way too many dropped passes. Every receiver dropped one or more passes. Shelton Gibson dropped two passes. Alford and White dropped a pass, Smith dropped a pass. Devonte Mathis, Cody Clay, Jordan Thompson, and Elijah Wellman all dropped catchable passes.
White, Alford and Thompson also made some great catches. The offensive line did a much better job than last season protecting the QB, but he did get sacked twice.
In the 1st 3-quarters did a decent job of opening holes for the running backs, and getting downfield to block. One of the QB sacks came on a whiff block by Adam Pankey.
Special teams played well. All the kickers did well, except for a missed field goal by Josh Lambert. The highlight of the game was Alford’s kick-off return for a touchdown.
I saw an improved offense and special teams. The biggest special team mistake was a catch Jordon Thompson made on a punt that he should have not attempted to catch.
WVU didn’t bring the HAMMER today defensively. As defender you can’t go with the flow of an offensive play, for if you do and the play comes back the other way, as a defender you are out of position.
If WVU’s defense wants to play better, then here are a few things it must do:
- Don’t blitz off one edge, blitz from both so the QB is trapped in the middle
- Maintain assigned lanes
- Don’t let offense backs get behind them
- Keep an eye on the QB
- Don’t go with the flow of the play in case it comes back your way
- Do a better job at shedding blocks
- Keep an eye on the ball
- Stop grabbing and wrapping when tackling and to back to hitting and driving through tackles (at times it looked like the defense was trying to dance with Bama’s running backs and receivers)
At least most teams show their biggest improvement between games one and two. Let’s hope the Mountaineers do. This team has potential.