No matter what blog you read, or what news article, both sports writers and fans are wondering what is going on. Mark May states, “Its just WVU Football”.
There are questions concerning the play calling and the play of some of the players. After WVU’s loss to TCU head coach Dana Holgorsen has again came under fire by the fans. Even the media was questioning calls during WVU’s last two drives in the 4th quarter.
Both the play of WVU QB Clint Trickett and WR Kevin White have come under fire, by fans.
Some of comments I have read are asking what happened to screen plays, comeback routes, crossing routes, pick plays, etc. Only once this year I have seen Kevin White run a comeback route, and even the announcers commented on it.
One complaint is that the pass plays and run plays are always the same with no variation. Fans believe there needs to be more variety in the passing game. Fans are asking about trick plays.
As a fan I don’t always know what all is taking place in the game or on the sideline, so like any fan or analyst I can only speculate on what I see, but it’s the unknowns that keep us from truly understanding why certain plays are called or not called.
The one thing that fans do know and that we have heard many coach say that are guilty of, is complacency. I’ve heard Coach Bobby Bowden talk about the Pitt vs WVU game when he was coach, and WVU was up 35 – 0 at the half. Bowden said they left off the gas in the 2nd half and Pitt came back and beat WVU. He said after that loss, he never let off the gas again. I’ve heard other coaches talk about learning this lesson. I’ve heard these same coaches state that they now play to win the game, not to hang on to a lead.
It was obvious that WVU constantly losing the turnover battle would catch up to them. This season WVU is at the bottom when it comes to creating turnovers, and near the top in committing turnovers. The next time you are watching WVU, pay attention to the defense, and see how many times they attempt to punch or slap a ball out of an opponent’s hand. WVU’s defense has had opportunities to intercept passes, and just flat-out failed to make the catch.
Sometimes when you listen to Holgorsen, you get the impression that he doesn’t have confidence in his players. I was listening to him answer a question concerning TE Cody Clay. The reporter wanted to know if he thought about throwing a pass to Cody Clay over the middle after the receivers had cleared the middle out.
Holgorsen has often stated that Clay can do it all, run, catch passes, and block, but his response to the sports writer was, “I would have done that if he was like Ron Gronkoski”. Holgorsen added that, “If Clay had Gronkoski’s speed and hands he would.” So can Cody Clay do it all or not? Now I’m confused.
Two of WVU’s turnovers were no more than quirks of the game. Trickett’s one interception was when he was trying to throw the ball out of bounds, and the one fumble was due to miscommunication between Trickett and Center Tyler Orlosky.
I don’t know what was or was not called, but I do know Trickett got an ear full from Holgorsen after one series in the 4th quarter when WVU did not get a 1st down. It was evident that Holgorsen was upset with the offensive line during his post game interview.
Will more variety in the passing game help? Will trick plays help? I don’t know or claim to know, the coaches should know the talent they have better than we the fans or the media.
I do know that I thought by this time in the season, we would have seen both Cody Clay and Elijah Wellman having many more touches of the ball than we have. After seeing White run the one comeback route this year, I was sure we’d see more.
I thought we would have seen by now, Kevin White take a defender deep, may a move and then run a slant over the middle, with Mario Alford doing the same on a medium route, and then either a TE or IR come off a block and work down the sideline.
One thing the coaches have to work on is reducing the number of WVU turnovers, and creating more turnovers. WVU’s defense and special teams need to get this corrected.
One thing that occurred against TCU in the 4th quarter was offensive blocking breaking down. This was also the case when WVU couldn’t punch the ball in twice in the 1st quarter. In one of these attempts while WVU was trying to run the ball, neither Wellman nor Clay was in to block on the edge. Why was WVU trying to run off the edge without a lead blocker? This also caught the attention of the announcers.
I do understand Trickett being spooked after he nearly had his head taken off by a TCU player and there was no penalty. I’m sure he ended up with a very sore neck.
I’m not sure if this loss was due to complacency on the part of the offensive coaches, the offensive players, or both. One thing is for sure, WVU’s offense has got to play every bit as aggressive as its defense. If the offense played with the high energy and mentality of its defense, the Mountaineers would not have lost 3 games.
WVU’s defense has kept the offense in every game. DC Tony Gibson has restored WVU’s defense, and we all owe him a big THANK YOU for this.