When I listened to WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen after the 62 – 38 loss to Baylor, two things stood out:
- First, he didn’t want to be there and really wasn’t interested in answering questions
- Second, he didn’t like all the negative press his starting quarterback Skyler Howard was receiving
I did not expect WVU to beat Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or Baylor, and I don’t look for them to beat TCU. Most likely, WVU will lose to Texas, Kansas State, and possibly Texas Tech. This is sad, for the team as a whole has more talent than this.
WVU made the rankings briefly for the only time they will this year, and I stated this after the Oklahoma loss. The reason is, what you saw from quarterback Skyler Howard against Baylor is as good as it gets. Anyone expecting more from Howard, can keep expecting for it is simply not happening.
I believe the big reason Holgorsen will not change quarterbacks is that he doesn’t want the 2015 season to be another 2013 season when no one knew who the starting quarterback was going to be from week-to-week. There is a big difference between 2013 and 2015, for Holorsen has 2 4-Star QB recruits, a 3-Star QB recruit, and pretty good preferred walk-on. The 2 4-Star quarterback recruits are playing receiver, and the 3-Star is the number 3 quarterback on the roster, who dresses for every game, wears a yellow cover, carries a clipboard and is always at Holgorsen’s side.
If Holgorsen doesn’t want to hear negative reviews about his starter then either his starter has to play better, or Holgorsen can find another starter.
Howard completed 18 of 37 passes for 289 yards of which 4 were for touchdowns, and with one being intercepted for a 48.6 completion rate and a QBR of 144.5. He also ran 14 times for 31 yards.
WVU ran a total of 83 plays against Baylor. WVU rushed the ball 44 times for 182 yards. Wendell Smallwood was the leading rusher with 12 attempts for 89 yards, averaging over 7-yards per carry. This is more than half of the total rushing yardage. Rushel Shell III rushed 15 times for 46 yards, averaging just over 3-yards a carry. Donte Thomas-Williams carried the ball 3 times for 6-yards.
No matter which game you look at this season, without Wendell Smallwood, WVU’s rushing yards would less than half of what it is. WVU must get more production out of these running backs, or Holgorsen instead of finding new receivers, how about giving TE/FBs Cody Clay and Eli Wellman some carries to see how they do in a game, or give one of the preferred walk-ons a shot at running the ball in an actual game.
One thing I know about football players, and if you listen to NFL games you’ll hear the same: Not every player practices well, and not every players who practice well play well in games. There are those players who don’t practice well, but really bring it come game time. Every NFL player, college player, and high school player knows one or more players like this.
WVU needs not one Wendell Smallwood, but two or three Wendell Smallwoods. WVU has this depth at both inside and outside receiver, but not at running back. What surprises me is that both Shell and DTW were both 4-Star recruits out of high school and together they don’t produce half the yardage Smallwood does.
If Holgorsen isn’t concerned about this season, then he should be, and instead of blaming receivers and the OL, he needs to change QBs. With what we saw in the Baylor game from David Sills as WR, there would be no way that I’d put him at QB, for I’d keep him where he is, and the same goes for William Crest. That leaves either 3-Star recruit Chis Chugunov who has received accolades from both the media and the coaches, including Holgorsen or preferred walk-on Austin Hensley who out performed Howard in the spring scrimmage game.
As a coach, I don’t care how bad you practice, for what I’m concerned with is how you perform come game day. I want guys who will sacrifice themselves on every play to do what other say can’t be done. I want guys who are so full of themselves and their abilities, that are a little cocky, a little arrogant, and not who just play mean, but play mad. I want a QB who is accurate, running backs who love running defenders over, and linemen who not only mean but play nasty. Nasty linemen find ways to block opponents. They study their opponent on film and during the game to find their opponents weakness. These are things you can’t coach. A player has it or he doesn’t have it.
What good is your QB to the team if he can run your offense, but he can’t get the ball to his receivers?
I’ll give Holgorsen credit for standing by Howard, but after 3-straight losses, isn’t enough – enough?