One of the major issues I have had with the WVU offense for much of the season is the offensive line’s inability to run block. I got so mad earlier in the season that I sent Coach Ron Crook a video on how to teach run blocking!
Then the run blocking appeared to improve, but I guess it had to do more with the talent they played against than the ability of the offensive line.
WVU rushed the ball against Texas A&M 32 times for 126 yards in its 37 to 45 loss. That is absolutely ridiculous, especially when a couple of WVU’s offensive linemen are hoping to land in the NFL. Rushel Shell and Dreamius Smith were also supposed to be two of the best running backs in the nation when the season started.
Shell had 12 carries for 22 yards. That my friends, is an average of 1.8 yards per carry. Smith had 1 carry for -3 yards. The leading rusher for WVU was Wendell Smallwood with 8 carries for 77 yards. QB Skyler Howard out rushed Shell and Smith both with 10 carries for 33 yards, which is only an average of 3.3 yards per carry.
There was a lot of hype on Howard after he replaced WVU QB Clint Trickett against Kansas State and he started against Iowa State. I felt then that a lot of that hype wasn’t warranted when I considered who WVU was playing. Today, Howard’s accuracy was as poor as I witnessed back in the spring practices in Wheeling and Charleston.
I can understand keeping Howard in the game until the 4th quarter, but then I would have replaced him with Logan Moore. It was evident WVU was not going to win at that point.
Moore may have come in and completed a few more passes, plus Moore can also run the ball if he needs to. Anyway, Skyler wasn’t getting it done and I saw no reason not to give Moore a shot. If Moore flopped then you could go back to Howard. Again, just my opinion for what it is worth.
Howard connected on only 20 of 45 passes for a 44% completion rate and 346 yards.
However, there appeared to be some hope for WVU as they soon begin to prepare for the 2015 season. Shelton Gibson’s 47 yard catch was amazing. One announcer called it a rainbow route. Gibson locked his eyes on the ball and ran to it. He made a great catch and was able to hold on to the ball when he hit the ground.
Elijah Wellman also got a touchdown today, and I do believe this was his first of the year. It was Elijah’s effort that got him across the goal line.
K.J. Dillon’s pick-6 was the only turn-over A&M commited, and there were another 4 interceptions that WVU should have had.
However, you can’t blame the loss completely on Skyler Howard. If WVU had been more productive with the running game, this would have helped Howard. As a young college QB in this 3rd D1 football game he had to feel all sorts of pressure, especially with no help from the running game. Howard must have felt the game was his to win. This is a lot of pressure to put on this young man.
If there is one WVU coach that should be embarrassed by the play of the guys he coaches, it should be Ron Crook. WVU’s offensive line got no push at all at the line of scrimmage to even help the running backs. Not only that, but the backs and ends did a poor job blocking on the edge. There were way too many tackles for lost yards. On one of his 12 carries Shell did run over a Texas A&M defender for additional yardage.
Other than Gibson coming out of the endzone on a kick-off return and Nick O’Toole shanking a punt, WVU’s special teams played well.
The defense played well, but seem tired going into the 4th quarter. They were not as as aggressive in the 2nd half, and they were missing tackles. To me this showed they were tired. Often the WVU defense allowed itself to get turned away from a play.
As WVU sits right now with the talent and commits, the two areas on this team that have got to improve in 2015 are the offensive line and the running backs. While the offensive line does a good job pass blocking, it can’t run block and hasn’t done this well all season. WVU has not had an offensive line that could run block well in years.
They were unable to do it when Bedenbaugh was the coach either, so I can’t put all the blame on Coach Crook. 2015 will be his 3rd year coaching the offensive line. I guess we’ll see if he can get it done.
Going forward, the starting QB position is wide-open, and I look for the battle to come down to be between William Crest, Chris Chugunov, and David Sills. The reason Howard is not mentioned here, is he struggled with the long ball in all three games he played in this season.
Some give the edge to Howard, but I’m not ready to do this. I do believe the QB battle will be one of the best in the nation to watch, and I don’t given any of them the edge at this point. There are also those who think the battle will be between Howard and Crest, others think it will be Crest and Sills.
Few put Chugunov in this battle. However, I believe Chugunov should have a 4-star rating rather than a 3-star rating. This kid is accurate and can fit the ball in tight spaces. — Anyway, we’ll see.
Thanks to all of you for your support!!!