Will 2015 Bring a Return to the Top 10 For WVU Football?

(Reprinted from BlueGoldSports.com)

By Michael Walker

The West VConnecticut at West Virginia Footballirginia University fans and donors have been  waiting not so patiently for a return to top 10 for WVU since the departure of Rich Rodriguez in late 2007. Most feel that eight years is long enough for the team to find their way back to the ‘glory days’ of 2005-2007.

During the years of Pat White, Steve Slaton and Owen Schmitt, WVU was a perennial member of the top 10 rankings. That is the definition of a top 10 program. With the departure of those three talented players and Coach Rodriguez came the Stewart years.

While still maintaining a top 25 profile, the Mountaineers could not get past 9-3. At the time, the fans and administration considered that a regression down to mediocrity.

With the hiring of Athletic Director Oliver Luck in the spring of 2010, there was an expectation of a return to national prominence. Luck hired Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen to the same position at WVU in 2010, with an expected transition to head coach.

Holgorsen became the WVU head coach in June of 2011, and compiled a record of 10-3 including a beat down of Clemson in the Orange Bowl by 70-33. It appeared that the Mountaineers savior had been found.

Then came the demise of the Big East and the Mountaineers move to the Big 12. The move to a stronger conference was accompanied by a serious lack of quality depth with diminished scholarship numbers.

Exacerbating the situation was a revolving door of assistant coaches as well as a head coach just learning to fulfill the role. The Big 12 is a tough place to go from experienced and successful offensive coordinator to head coach.

Coach Holgorsen and the team took their lumps in 2012 with a record of 7-6 and a humiliation in the Pinstripe Bowl by old nemesis Syracuse 38-14. A faltering Mountaineer team decimated by injuries on defense did not seem to want to be there.

2013 turned out to be a disaster for WVU, as three different starting quarterbacks were plagued with injuries or ineptness. But behind the scenes things were building for the future. A total of 15 freshmen saw playing time in 2013 due to injuries, and recruiting was on the upswing.

The Mountaineers entered 2014 as a true unknown, with expectations ranging from a low of a 4-8 record to a high of 8-4. I was one of the 8-4 prognosticators. ……..

To read the full article for free, got to BlueGoldSports.com

2 thoughts on “Will 2015 Bring a Return to the Top 10 For WVU Football?

  1. Thanks, George. I agree with the creativity in the passing game. DTW is supposed to be a bear at 240 lbs and Shell is still improving.

    Offensive coordinator is a title only at WVU and many other schools. Holgs is the de facto OC as he calls the plays. Spurrier let his son call the plays for one half of a game, then took it back. Most head coaches that are former OCs are like that.

    Sure could use a good QB coach though. You are dead on about blocking for the punt returner.

  2. Michael,

    This is a good article! However, before WVU can get back in the rankings of the Top 10 a few things must happen offensively:
    – The running game must improve. The 2014 running game was mediocre at best. Shell nor Smith lived up to their expectations. Many fans are hoping Devontae Thomas-Williams can be the player to ignite the running game.
    – And there are a lot of questions about the WRs. WVU had pretty good replacements for Sted and Tavon, with White and Alford. The question for 2015 is can they find this type of talent for 2015. Honestly, I don’t see this type of talent for 2015, nor this type of speed.

    Yesterday, I was watching the Rice receivers. They would start to drive the DB down field, and then slow down. Once the DB slowed down the receivers blew past them. WVU has got to get more creative with its passing game. Pause-n-Go routes, Stop-n-Go Routes, Wheel Routes, etc. These types of routes help receivers get open.

    Also, the punt return game needs to improve and this starts with better blocking to give the punt returners a chance. And Nick O’Toole needs to get back to the form he had in 2013. He wasn’t nearly as good in 2014 as he was in 2013.

    I still think we are a few years out from being able to compete for a Big XII or NCAA Title.

    I hope we get an Offensive Coordinator that can improve the passing game, for WVU though had good talent in 2014, these guys weren’t even close to Sted or Tavon. And WVU needs players closer to the talents of Sted and Tavon. We also need to get Clay and Wellman more involved in the passing and running game.

    Merry Christmas!!!

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