Coach Neal Brown enacted the mantra Trust the Climb soon after arriving in Morgantown. It appeared that the players adopted the mantra soon arriving on campus. Coach Brown was busier than bees soon after he arrived. He had to hire coaches and recruit players, and keep players that had initially committed to WVU under Holgersen. For the most part Brown was very successful at doing these things.
Then here came the media followed by some fans and instead of patience, they by-passed the climb by going around or over it. We soon saw articles stating WVU was going to win the Big 12, and Austin Kendall was winning the Heisman. Yet, WVU was struggling. WVU had a QB, an offensive line, and receivers all of which were also struggling. WVU showed a little improvement in the return game, but its biggest success was with the defensive line and line backers. It was these positions where WVU had the most talent and success. Pooler and the Stills’ brothers were tough on offensive lines and quarterbacks. My favorite thing with last seasons defense was the fact most of the defensive players making plays were home-growns, such as Bonamico.
The big issue I and other WVU fans had with QB Kendall was how slow he was getting his passes off. Kendall held onto the ball way too long, and this led to interceptions, passes knocked down, and dropped passes. Kendall would rather take a loss than run with the ball. He played like he was scared to be hit. Some of the fans at the Texas game began to time how long it took Kendall to throw the ball, and were in awe at his refusal to run when he had an opening and time.
While the coaches and players were about the climb, the WVU Sports Media and many fans instead of enjoying and Trusting the climb they circumvented it. Before a game was played the media and many fans had Kendall in the Heisman race, and WVU competing for the Big 12 Championship. All this because Kendall had played behind Heisman winners. This was all these folks needed to go off on these tangents.
We are seeing the samething already this season. Sports writers and fans are already touting Jarred Doege as a Heisman candidate, and contending for the Big 12 Title. For Doege to be a Heisman candidate, he has to drastically improve his game over what we saw from him last season. I saw an article today where the writer stated that within the next 2-weeks we should see Austin Kendal named the Doege’s back-up. Then he had 4 videos: one of each of the 4 QBs throwing the ball. I watched all 4 videos, and Trent Jackson won it hands down, Garrett Greene was definitely second, and Austin Kendall was last.
Now I realize things will most likely change, and I expect them to. I look for a much improved offensive line. I look for the Offensive line to have one or two Home-Growns, and a Home-Grown at running back. WVU’s defense will be made up of many Home-Growns: Dante Bonamico, Dante Stills, Darius Stills, Kerry Martin, and maybe a couple more.
We should see a much improved team all around. Former WVU Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel is back as Defensive Analyst. Casteel coached defense under then WVU HC Rich Rodrigues. I think Casteel will be a good addition. You remember me saying WVU would have an improved return game this season, well this is why. WVU will have two very good defensive minds. Vic Koenning and Jeff Casteel on the same team coaching defense, I wouldn’t want to play against this defense. This should be fun to watch.
I think we have some pretty good receivers and tight-ends this year with good hands, now we just need a QB who can read defenses and get rid of the ball quickly. Being fleet-footed won’t hurt.