When this season started we heard the WVU coach’s state that WVU would have a running game by committee. Recently, I’ve read where fans have asked if they wouldn’t have been better off by using only one or two running backs.
What is going on is that fans aren’t hearing what is not being said. What the coaches were saying was, “we don’t have a standout running back, so whoever has the hot hand is going to play.” In other words no one running back has won the starting job, and in 11 games this is exactly what we have seen.
The most productive running backs have been Wendell Smallwood and Andrew Buie. Yes, Rushel Shell, Dreamius Smith and Dustin Garrison has had their moments and looked good on a few plays, but none of these 5 backs have shown consistency.
None of them can be counted on as every down players. Fumbles, dropped passes, quitting on routes, not running with power and trying to break tackles, etc. are all instances of their lack of consistency and lack of concentration.
You would think that Dreamius Smith would want to give 110% every time he touched the ball, so NFL scouts would look at him. You would think that Rushel Shell would want to prove that he was worth his ranking coming out of high school and having twin daughters that he wanted to be that every down back.
However, neither of these backs have lived up to their hype. Mediocre is the best way to describe this group of running backs. There has not been a standout running back this season. However, each has had their moments.
We have heard the coach’s state that Cody Clay can do it all. Yet, he has touched the ball only about a half dozen times and all except one have been passes. We heard rumors that Elijah Wellman could be the next Owen Schmitt. Yet, he has touched the ball less than 6-times. If these guys are this good then why haven’t they gotten more touches?
You have to praise Jordan ‘Squirt’ Thompson, for he has definitely picked it up this season as inside receiver. Mario Alford and Kevin White have both proved they are worth the hype, or have they? If you had two quality receivers like this and they were worthy of all the hype then why wouldn’t you find ways to get them the ball?
This season has seen slant after slant, and post after post. We have seen button-hooks and curls, and we have seen attempted screen passes. The reason I say attempted screen passes is they seldom worked. Is this lack of execution by the backs and the offensive line why we haven’t seen pick plays, crossing routes, comeback routes, stop-and-go routes, misdirection plays, etc?
If I were coach, I’d would have had Alford start at a slow pace down field, then fake a move inside or outside and then just open up and run the post. I would have had Kevin White try faking out a defensive back with a stop-and-go.
I may have even had Kevin and Mario run comeback routes or crossing routes, or pick plays. The idea here is to get these guys open for big plays down field, instead of hoping to work down field with pass interference calls.
The lack of consistency we have seen with the running backs and receivers, is the same inconsistency we have seen the play of the offensive line. The offensive line will look great giving quarterback pass protection one play, and the next they blow it.
WVU works the ball down field well between the 20s, but in the red-zone they fall apart. The blocking of the offensive line and backs is practically non-existent. Blocking is not just the responsibility of the offensive line, but also the offensive backs and tight-ends. Cody Clay has blocked better than anyone and is fairly consistent. However, Clay has had problems blocking defensive ends.
The play of WVU’s defense has been the biggest improvement this season, and the depth it gained from last season has definitely been a big plus. There has also been improvement with the special teams.
What has killed WVU special teams and offense this season has been the lack of consistent execution on the offense and special teams. If these guys really wanted to play at the next level, then they’d be playing like it on every down instead of just when they wanted to.
What I have seen this year is a team with the talent to win, but lacks the desire. The players on offense and defense just haven’t showed me that they have any desire to play at the next level. These guys fail to realize they are playing for their future, the future of their teammates, and the future of his team.
We will not likely see Dreamius Smith in the NFL, and Rushel Shell will probably be a back-up next season behind Dontae Thomas-Williams. It obvious watching these guys that their heart just isn’t in it. Teams that win championships, have every player playing as though their life depended on it. Players like this want to win. They want the trophy, and they refuse to take 2nd place.
Make no mistake about it, this 2014 WVU football team had the talent to go 12 – 0, but what they lacked was heart. If Rushel Shell and Dreamius Smith really cared, they would never have quit after the initial hit. They would have been running with their shoulders down trying to knock a defended on his backside. They would have been fighting for additional yards. After watching both Shell and Smith this season, they both appear over-rated, and WVU still needs a big power running back. They may have it with Dontae Thomas-Williams.
What WVU needs on offense is players like they have on defense. Players that are willing to scrap. Players like Karl Joseph, K.J. Dillon, Dravon Henry, Daryl Worley, Wes Tonkery, Nick Kwaitkoski, Kyle Rose, and Darrien Howard.
The thing is the coaches have been telling all of us about the short comings of this offense, but as fans we failed to listen.
Good Luck in 2015!!!