WVU lost their season opener to Penn State on Saturday night, 38-15.
Morgantown, WV – As expected, the West Virginia Mountaineers dropped their season opener to the 7th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions, 38-15. While the team fought hard, and kept mistakes to a minimum, there were many areas that could be of concern for Neal Brown’s squad moving forward.
As WVU heads into a week two tangle with the Duquesne Dukes, here are FIVE THOUGHTS to keep in mind moving forward:
- Is ShaDon Brown getting the job done?
History is repeating itself right in front of our eyes. WVU’s secondary struggled mightily on Saturday night, and often just looked downright bad. For a unit that was so below par in 2022, it seems as if not much was fixed during the offseason.
ShaDon Brown, who is in his third season in Morgantown, is in charge of the defensive backs. Since the secondary is his unit, any blame will fall back on him (and rightfully so).
With the same issues still plaguing the defensive backs, it is not ludicrous to begin questioning the coaching ability of ShaDon Brown. Sure, he had big shoes to fill coming in after Jahmile Addae, but things have to improve at some point.
2. That 4th & 2 was embarrassing
With 10 minutes left in the game, and trailing by three scores, Coach Brown decided to go into his bag of tricks for a 4th & 2 call – and it backfired.
The result was easily one of the most embarrassing plays in Mountaineer Football history. While one could admire the gutsy-nature of the play-call, it was simply just out of place for the time it was called.
Put this one on the Sportscenter Not Top 10.
3. I really like Oliver Straw
Yes, I’m giving the punter some love today.
Sophomore Punter Oliver Straw has been somewhat of a secret weapon for the Mountaineers. Last night, he punted 4 times for an average of 42 yards, a long of 50, and had 2 downed inside the 20 yard line.
These are certainly stats that I can live with from a punter.
I’m eager to see his progression moving forward.
4. The verdict is still out on the receivers room
Coming into the 2023 season, nobody really knew what to expect from the receivers room that was dealing with a plethora of attrition. After Saturday night, many certainly still feel that way.
Outside of NC State transfer Devin Carter, who grabbed 6 passes for 90 yards, the receivers did virtually nothing against the Penn State secondary. The second leading receiver (who was not a tight end or running back) was true freshman Trayvon Ray, who grabbed 2 passes for 7 yards.
Since Penn State has one of the best defenses in the country, I will give that room a pass for this week. However, if they struggle once again when they face FCS Duquesne, that’s when the warning signals should begin to flare.
5. Can Garrett Greene last all season?
The quarterback position was the talk of the entire offseason. I could not go my first FIVE THOUGHTS of the season without mentioning the signal callers.
Garrett Greene showed flashes last night. His legs helped him mightily, but passing is where he lacked. Going 16-for-27 for 167 yards is not terrible, but it’s also not spectacular. Again, I will give him the pass due to Penn State’s defense, but if this continues next week, then we may begin to hear fan clamoring for a change earlier than expected.
The Mountaineers kickoff week two against Duquesne on Saturday, September 9th at 6 p.m. The game will broadcast on ESPN+ (Big 12 Plus).
(Photo by WVU Athletics)