By George O’Bryan and Michael Walker –
It was satisfying to see WVU hang on for a win against Maryland. This team proved it has more heart, desire, and determination than they showed last season.
Some even believe WVU quarterback Clint Trickett may be mentioned in the Heisman talks this week. I would be very surprised. However, this does not mean it will not or cannot happen.
Trickett was chosen this week for the Walter Camp Award with his performance against Maryland. He also has the highest completion rate (75%) among quarterbacks with 100 or more passes. Big passing numbers against Oklahoma would probably get the Heisman voters’ attention.
I do believe we will see Trickett playing on Sundays, for there are too many NFL teams in need of his services. Pocket passers historically fair better in the NFL than dual-threat QBs.
Trickett is a true pocket passer, and he has very good decision making skills. He checks out of at least half the plays called by the coaches and the results are usually positive.
Trickett also has a very strong, accurate arm this year and he can make all the throws. I admire the fortitude that he plays with. He is a leader on and off the field.
Did any of you notice the Mountaineers now have a comeback pass route? Kevin White and Trickett executed it perfectly against Maryland.
I have been openly wondering why you rarely see a comeback route in college football, and it was good to see it against Maryland.
Many WVU fans also want to see red-zone packages put in for freshman QB, William Crest, Jr. While this may sound logical, it really is not a good idea unless the game is well in hand.
WVU’s offensive line must improve on its run blocking techniques. When the OL can get a 5-yard push, then WVU becomes a threat running between the tackles.
That enables them to also run off the edge. Running successfully both ways opens up the deep pass routes. If the Mountaineers are unable to run the ball against Oklahoma, the game will be on the shoulders of Trickett and the backs to make big plays with the shorter passes.
Oklahoma will likely play its DBs back to keep Kevin White and Mario Alford in front of them, attempting to make WVU one dimensional with only a short passing game. We saw this in the 2nd half of the Maryland game until the last drive.
WVU will have serious problems winning against teams like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor, or Texas Tech one dimensional. If turnovers and mistakes on special teams are not corrected, WVU will probably have trouble winning more than 6 games.
If they can manage to correct both, they could potentially have a very successful season. Josh Lambert has to become more consistent with his field goal kicking. A 50% success rate could eventually cause one or more additional losses.
WVU’s defenders must also improve their pass catching ability. They missed opportunities to intercept Maryland several times where things could have turned ugly for the Terps.
Even with the fumbles, its hard to criticize the efforts of Trickett, Shorts, Alford, White, Shell, Smith, Smallwood, Buie and Garrison. All of these guys played hard and made plays.
Maryland could have and perhaps should have been blown out. The stats from the game prove it:
- WVU ran 59 running plays for a total of 183 yards
- WVU had 49 passing plays for a total of 511 yards
- WVU ran a total of 108 offensive plays
- Trickett completed 37 of 49 passes for 511 yds. and four touchdowns with only one interception. His QB Rating was 85.7
You can bet the WVU offensive line was tired after the game and in need of the ice tub. Though I have been bashing the run blocking of the OL, I cannot commend them enough for the pass protection they have afforded Trickett this season. Pass protection is greatly improved over last year.
The play of the offensive backfield as a whole has also greatly improved. I can’t say enough about the play of these guys. The only knock on them is the turnovers.
They have got to do a much better job of holding onto the ball. I also believe the backs still need to improve on run blocking. Anytime a defender can come off one edge and make a tackle on the other edge, someone missed a block.
If WVU can manage to clean these things up, they stand an excellent chance at having much better than a 6–6 season. Otherwise, a winning season is about all they can hope for.
If the Sooners can manage to shut down the WVU running game, Trickett and his backs will have to compensate with short passes to have any chance of defeating Oklahoma. If they are successful, Trickett could be threatening even Geno Smith’s passing records.
Photo credit: WVUSports.com