Looking Back at WVU’s 2017

West Virginia finished the season 5 – 4 in conference play and 7 – 6 on the season. For the 2nd straight year, WVU’s biggest loss came at the hands of Oklahoma. West Virginia didn’t look as bad in their bowl loss this season as they last season.

What has been missing from WVU since Holgorsen took over?

Holgorsen likes small quick running backs, so this is what he recruits. During Holgorsen’s tenure WVU fans have yet to see that big power back. A power back who is also a punishing running back. We also saw this under Rich Rodrigues. The other thing we haven’t seen is talented offensive line. The last time WVU had a power running back and a solid offensive line was when Don Nehlen was head coach.

Under Holgorsen WVU has only had mediocre offensive lines. The other thing is when you look at a WVU offensive they are smaller than the opponents. WVU plays teams with offensive and defensive lines that weigh well over 300 pounds, and WVU’s offensive lines barely tip the scales at 300 pounds. WVU needs bigger and stronger offensive linemen with good technique, and feet.

While Holgorsen likes smaller quicker running backs, he has to realize these guys can’t take the pounding of a bigger back who is a power punishing runner. If Holgorsen had 2 big power backs who could punish and tire a defense, then turn loose his quicker faster backs, WVU’s offensive would be much more explosive.

We keep hearing talk about he wants to make more use of tightends. However, for the most part he recruits tightends/fullbacks. Tevon Wesco was the only player listed in 2017 as tightend, and there were 5 tightend/fullbacks. With the early recruiting period WVU should add 2 tightends, and no additional tightend/fullbacks.

WVU loses to teams that can pound the with ball with bigger and stronger running backs, and big defensive lines that can pound and tire WVU’s smaller offensive line. Smaller faster players are good to have, but you need the bigger players to tire defenses.

If you look at the top teams each year, they have running backs starting at 235 pounds and some have 250+ pound running backs. I haven’t seen a big punishing running back at WVU since Nehlen was coach.

If Holgorsen wants to mix the ‘Air Raid’ with a running game he has to recruit and mix power running game with the smaller quicker backs, and he needs a bigger stronger offensive line.

When you look at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, etc., they all have bigger stronger offensive lines, and big powerful punishing running backs, and some of these teams utilize tightends in their running and passing game.

If Holgorsen truly wants to win a Big 12 Title, he has to start recruiting and mixing speedier running backs with bigger power running backs, and instead of 290 pound offensive linemen, he needs 310+ offensive linemen. And he needs to stop recruiting tightend/fullbacks who we seldom see on the field.

The bowl loss this season to Utah is on Hilgorsen. He should have let Chugs run the ball, and he should have started Chugs off with shorter passes to build his confidence. What Holgs did was destroy the confidence of his young quarterback, by opening up with deep passes. Holgorsen wanted to score quick with a QB who had little practice with the starting receiver, who was playing only his 2nd game, and he wouldn’t let him run with the ball.

I don’t see a Big 12 Title in 2018. I see a running game by committee, and we know how well that has worked, and we know they will miss games due to injuries. The same will happen with the offensive line, for WVU may have 2 or 3 quality backup offensive linemen.

Defensively, Gibby will have WVU ready. And I am still waiting on a punt return game.

I figure WVU will have a 9 or 10 game winning season in 2018. I look for losses at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas.



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