There was an Ohio farmer named, Ollie. He knew an Iowa farmer named Jim who was looking for a mule. Ollie knew a Texas farmer named, Mike.
Now Mike had a 3 year old mule name Dana that he couldn’t train. Mike had tried everything. He had beaten the stubborn mule with a whip and anything else he could get his hands on. Ollie told Jim about the mule, and it in intrigued him, so he went to Texas to see this mule that couldn’t be trained.
Jim liked this mule, for there was something about it that he knew if he could acquire that with the right trainer this mule would be one of the best mules he had ever had or seen. Jim had also heard of a Mule trainer name Shane, who could train a mule without the use of force or whips, so he hired him to train Dana.
Jim watched intently as Shane walked into the corral to where Dana was. Slowly Shane approached Dana with his hand out, and when he got close enough, he pulled the big 2 X 4 from behind his back and with both hands he swung it fast and as hard as he could. The 2 X 4 hit Dana right between the eyes, dazing the mule.
Seeing this Jim scream at Shane, “I thought you trained mules without using force and abuse!” Shane cracked a big smile, laughed loudly and said, “I do! But I had to get his attention first”.
Now you may not know it, but I like Dana Holgorsen, and he could be one of the BEST Coaches WVU has ever had. Dana not only reminds me of this ole mule story, but he also reminds of a 12 inch beagle my friend Raymond had.
This beagle was a hell of a rabbit dog, but it had one big flaw. Once she got on the trail of a rabbit, she didn’t know when to stop. We often carried her out of the woods in a gunny sack, for she had ran so much and so hard that her paws were bleeding. “No,” she never got a rabbit.
This is what I see with HC Dana Holgorsen and QB Skyler Howard. No matter the flaws in Howard’s passing game, Holg is going to make him into a top QB even if it costs him his job. He is determined to make Howard a top quality QB. Holg won’t call passing plays that Howard can’t execute.
When was the last time you saw Holgorsen call a crossing or slant route? How many times have you seen Howard throw a pass that was out in front of a receiver, where the receiver could run under it for a catch? How many times has Howard hit a receiver in stride?
When haven’t you seen a WVU receiver run down field, have to turn and face Howard and wait on the ball? The first deep pass to Shelton Gibson was such a pass, and Gibson ended up trying to catch the ball with two defenders trying to swat it down. We saw the same with the end-zone pass to Jovon Durante.
The problem here that is WVU’s receivers seldom get to catch a pass without defenders being in their face. You seldom see a pass thrown to an open receiver. In 6 games this season, WVU receivers have been conditioned to try and make catches in traffic, so when they occasionally get a pass and they are wide-open they don’t know how to act, so they are more likely to drop it than catch it. This happens because they have been conditioned to only catch a football in traffic.
The other thing we see from Holgorsen is that he is determined to make Rushel Shell III a big time running back, and this isn’t going to happen. Holgorsen needs to find other options. Giving the ball to Eli Wellman is an option that Holgorsen for whatever reason refuses to attempt.
Another option is throwing the ball to Cody Clay over the middle or along the sideline. Holgorsen refuses each week to take advantage of Clay’s and Wellman’s size.
Holgorsen has players who he expects to make big plays, and when they do not make big plays he gets frustrated. He does little to set up the big plays. More short passes to Jordan Thompson, Daikiel Shorts, Jacky Marcellus, and getting the ball to Clay and Wellman will go a long way in helping setting up the big plays with the big receivers. If you want to take some of the pressure off your big play makers, then you have to get the ball to others for shorter yardage. Once defenses begin to respect the play of Shorts, Thompson, Marcellus, Wellman and Clay, means there will be less pressure on Gibson, Durante, Sills, Smallwood, etc.
WVU doesn’t need big plays each down. Just get the offense moving picking up 3 or 4 yards at a time. You starting dinking yourself down field, then you can hit the big plays. But in order to do this, you have to have a passer who can anticipate, has a quick release, who is accurate, and who can throw a touch pass. Unfortunately, Skyler Howard has none of these skills.
As I said, I like Dana Holgorsen and I see a lot of head coaching potential, and I want him to stay at WVU and to succeed. Hopefully, AD Lyons has that 2 X 4 handy, for right now Holg needs a quick hard hit between his eyes to help him see more clearly.