By George O’Bryan –
Part two of two
A serious concern for WVU is the ability of the defense to stop the run. Alabama averaged over five yards per carry against them. Teams that can run between the tackles can often times also stop the run. WVU is struggling at both.
To give credit where it is due, the Mountaineers stopped Maryland on their final seven possessions. WVU also revived the run on the winning drive.
With Oklahoma coming to town Saturday to start WVU’s Big 12 conference play, the running plays between the tackles must continue to improve. Averaging less than 3-yards a carry up the middle is a problem. If your opponent can plug the middle, they can also stop the outside runs. Maryland did for much of the game.
We also saw this in the Alabama game. The defense as well as special teams getting out of position and not maintaining their lanes allowed Alabama and Maryland both to get big plays.
Maryland had 3 huge plays against WVU: The deep pass down the middle for a TD, the long run by the QB for a TD, and the punt return for a TD. All 3 of these can be attributed to players out of position.
The Maryland game reminded me of the four close games WVU lost in 2013. The only difference being that this team showed the guts and determination to win. Last season, they caved when the other team rallied.
I am not concerned with the suspension of cornerback Daryl Worley, WVU has depth at this position and should be OK there.
As WVU moves further into the season, there has to be continued improvement to achieve a winning season and a bowl game.
If WVU can pay attention to detail and execute the small things going forward, then they have a chance at a very successful season. However, the lack of focus on detail during games, if continued, will prevent a very talented team from having the success it is capable of.
Success will come when the players execute their assignments. Getting out of position, fumbles, missing and dropping interceptions, missing field-goals, not sustaining blocks, and missing blocks, occur when you fail to execute.
While Holgorsen was happy with the win over Maryland, I hope he was livid over the lack of attention to detail and execution. A team with this much maturity and talent should not be making these mistakes consistently in the third game of the season.
Color me concerned going forward.