Yesterday, I took time to listen to WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen’s latest presser and all the interviews of the coaches and players.
I don’t know about you, but I got nothing really significant from Coach Holgorsen’s statements. I thought the most significant comments came from the coaches and players.
I believe the addition of Coach Wickline will prove to be positive, at least where the offensive line is concerned. I have not been all that impressed with WVU’s OL since Holgorsen arrived. I believe Wickline’s input with technique should go a long way in helping these players to be able to both run and pass block.
The hiring of Coach Adams is interesting. Here is a coach that helped the Miami Dolphins become one of the NFL’s toughest teams to pass against. The Dolphins ranked 6th in pass defense last season.
The one key note from Adams interview was that he is coaching the WVU cornerbacks to play closer to the line of scrimmage. Adams stated that the Mountaineer corners were fast, and he was going to utilize their speed. This means these CBs will be playing tighter coverage. This is definitely a change to the way WVU’s CBs have played in the past.
Of all the hires, the hiring of Coach Tyron Carrier is the most baffling. Carrier never played in the NFL, yet he holds multiple NCAA records. However, Carrier did play 1-year in the CFL. With this said, it appears that the WVU receivers are buying into him big time. Shelton Gibson said that Coach Carrier not only tells them what to do, but after telling them he demonstrates it.
Carrier stated he is shortening the cuts they make on their routes. He also said that he had 2 players on offense and 2 on defense that had some twitch to them and he’d be working them on both kick-off and punt returns. Carrier seemed to be very pleased with the talent he has inherited.
According the players, Carrier still has his own twitch when he is teaching them and they find this impressive. Carrier also stated that the WVU tight ends had good size and speed and would be used more this season.
After listening to the coaches and players, it appears that while WVU’s defense is losing a lot of talent at skilled positions, the overall the defense isn’t hurting and for the most part shouldn’t see any lose of production.
There are a lot of players on defense who have had significant playing time, and who are ready and willing to step into the positions vacated by the guys who left.
The big question now is can WVU win 10-games and get into a major bowl. The answer to that question is likely ‘No’. WVU will probably have another 8-win season and will not get into a major bowl. When you have this many new coaches it takes players awhile to adjust and relearn their positions. This will be the case this season.
The QB position in 2016 hasn’t changed, and I don’t look for it to change. I predict that William Crest will relieve Skyler Howard if he needs t take a play off, or if Holgorsen wants to run a trick play. If Howard gets hurt and has to come out for several plays he’ll be replaced by Chris Chugunov.
With the addition of Grier from Florida U., I don’t see William Crest, David Sills or Chris Chugunov ever taking the field at WVU as the starting QB. Sadly, I see Chugs as a potential difference maker with his passing ability, and someone who could be a winner and leader. I just do not see Holgorsen giving him the opportunity in a game. If these 3 players want to become starting quarterbacks they will probably have to transfer.
Everyone is hyped up over Howard’s numbers in the Cactus Bowl win against Arizona State. Howard wasn’t playing Oklahoma, Alabama, Ohio State, or a team even comparable to the talents of any of WVU’s other opponents.
ASU had the worst passing defense in FBS football, but Howard threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball deep in WVU territory. The Mountaineers could easily have lost if Cody Clay had not recovered the fumble.
Howard struggled horribly against Oklahoma as well as most Big 12 teams last season. In reality Holgs should have been pulled Howard and replaced him with Chugs, and this should have happened in at least 2 other games as well.
Howard is from Texas and and it appears Holgorsen will not replace him in a game no matter how badly he is struggling. Because of this, WVU will lose 2 or 3 Big 12 games again mostly due to Howard’s lack of passing ability.
If I’m right and these things come to fruition, then the next big question becomes, “Does WVU keep Holgorsen or replace him?” The consensus seems to be that Holgorsen must win 10-games and play in a major bowl game. That is not likely to change.