Tuesday, January 31, 2023

It Might Be Time For This Mountaineer Great To Come Back Home

  Morgantown, West Virginia -- With the potential firing of Neal Brown looming and the possibility of current Offensive Coordinator Graham Harrell leaving with him, a spot might open up for Pat White to make a return on the sidelines. Big names such as Hugh Freeze have been mentioned as a replacement for Brown if he is to be fired, and with a new coach, he will NEED an Offensive Coordinator. So why not Pat White? Pat White was WVU's starting quarterback from 2005-2008 with TWO BCS (Now New Year's Six) Bowl wins. White has plenty of experience as a Mountaineer and knows the mentality that makes a Mountaineer a Mountaineer. He is currently an offensive assistant for the LA Chargers and has experience being the running-backs coach at South Florida. So why would he make a good Offensive Coordinator? He has experience being a quarterback who had GREAT running talent. Knowing what an offense needs with both run and pass is CRUCIAL for a potent offense. With the guidance of a coach like Hugh Freeze, not only could the Mountaineer's offense take a major step forward and become a Dual-Threat system, but could truly make a name for himself to eventually become a big name for open Head Coaching positions in FBS. What would we expect from a Pat White led offense? We would see a MAJOR change in the offensive system. We would NOT have an Air-Raid system like we are used to, but more of a running orented system. With players on our roster such as Garrett Greene and Nicco Marchiol being duel-treat quarterbacks and young talented runningbacks Tony Mathis Jr. and C.J. Donaldson, a Pat White led offense could REALLY make these already talented players shine. Will this end up happening? Probably not, but there is STILL a chance! WVU needs a change in the offensive system that has been EXTREMELY overused system, so if Pat White becomes the Offensive Coordinator of this team, it could be the breath of fresh air that this program DESPERATELY needs.

WVU Basketball Will Surprise People This Year

MMorgantown, West Virginia - With the Big 12 Pre-Season poll coming out a little under a week ago and the AP Top 25 coming out yesterday, West Virginia is receiving NO love from the press. The way Huggins has been talking about the players this year makes me believe that this could be a SNEAKY good team. Huggins has stated that this team knows how to compete and sees the players' mentality this season as similar to his own. He also said this about this year's team to the psyche of last year's season: "I think our guys have fantastic attitudes, their work ethic has been really good. It wasn't so much that a year ago." This is interesting due to the fact that maybe a poor mentality was the downfall of last season's team. The team started out 11-1 with their sole loss at that point of the season coming to Marquette. The team then fell to 16-17 (4-14) dropping 16 of their next 20 games, leaving them out of not only the NCAA Tournament but the NIT as well. Huggins also had this to say about last year's team: "Obviously we are going to be a lot better. We had a bad year last year. I think our attitudes our better. I think we've gained by subtraction in some regards." This makes me believe that many of the players did not want to be there, and were being a hindrance to the team. With this, all the momentum they had gained before conference play vanished and the team started playing like they NEVER played basketball in their lives. Now, this is an entirely new season, and I have faith Huggins will get the team back on track. With how positive Huggs has been speaking about each of the players, it makes me believe that West Virginia WILL make a run in the Big 12, and make the NCAA tournament, finishing above .500.

ESPN FPI: What Games ESPN Thinks WVU Will Win And Lose To

  Morgantown, West Virginia -- The first half of this season has been rough for the team and the fans alike. Starting out 0-2 (0-1), winning two straight, getting blown out by Texas, then winning a MUST-WIN game against the defending Conference Champions, Baylor. To say the least, West Virginia has had a roller coaster of a season with its ups and its downs. ESPN has West Virginia winning two more games. That would put the Mountaineers at 5-7 (3-6) and a very disappointing season. Stats: https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1581695437735501824?s=20&t=ruCm9iXqif25SPHPfO7P1A WVU has MANY opportunities to win these games, and by no means does this determine how West Virginia's record will be at the end of the season. The fact that West Virginia has above a 40% chance to beat almost everyone on their schedule (except for Iowa State and Oklahoma State) is a positive sign. A couple of weeks ago (after the Texas game), most of these games gave the Mountaineers less than a 35% chance to beat everyone on this remaining schedule. Texas Tech is a WINNABLE game for West Virginia this year. Despite beating UT in Lubbock, TTU has not proven to be a team WVU will definitely lose to. As for TCU, we lucked out with this game being in Morgantown instead of Fort Worth. TCU is a REALLY GOOD team this year, and with WVU playing them in Morgantown, it might be the difference in that ball game (hence us getting an almost 43% chance of beating a Top-10 team. The rest of the schedule is pretty favorable for the Mountaineers this season. WVU plays the conference's best teams (excluding Oklahoma State) in Morgantown and the conference's cellar teams away. Again, these games are NOT guaranteed wins, but ESPN thinks that West Virginia will make games close in almost EVERY remaining game they play this season. West Virginia WON'T make the Conference Championship or anywhere near that, but with how WVU has played to start the season and with ESPN tending to be bias towards WVU (in a negative way), this is a good sign.

Offense vs. Defense Last Season And This Season

  Morgantown, West Virginia - This year, the Mountaineer's offense has drastically improved from last season. WVU averages 38.7 points per game, has 271 passing yards per game, and 191.3 rushing yards per game. Compared to last year, that is a complete 180. https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1581708206711373826?s=20&t=nS2NAl3umrBw9MmK_XSrDw Last year, WVU only averaged around 25.2 points per game (Almost 14 points less than this year), which was one of the worst in all of College Football last season. Somehow, the number of yards per game rushing and passing was very similar with 247.9 yards passing and 123.2 yards rushing per game. Again, those stats have been improved by at least 30 yards per game on both passing and rushing, but what makes this metric more interesting is that WVU has a much higher completion rate, and has a firm belief in both the run and the pass. Something that WVU has NOT had under Neal Brown his tenure in Morgantown. As for the defense, it has taken a MAJOR step back. Many fans and experts alike thought that WVU would take a small step back on defense, but certainly not the nosedive it has so far. Last year, WVU only gave up 23.8 PPG to their opponents which was 45th in the country. This year, it gives up 31.3 PPG, which is 104th. That is near the bottom of the barrel with there only being 131 FBS teams in College Football. That, along with giving up big explosive plays on most drives against every team they have played this season (minus Virginia Tech and Towson), has cost them games this season. Now, I know what you are thinking, "but the defense won us the game against Baylor!". This is true in the fact that the scoop and score late in the second quarter kept WVU in the game and came up clutch after Daniels threw a potentially game-changing interception with a little over three minutes to go in the game, but WVU was still giving up explosive plays on almost EVERY possession. It seems like the defense gave up big 30+ yard bursts multiple times on most possessions, and this isn't anything new. This happened during the Kansas game (which allowed them to take the lead and end up winning), the Texas game (where we got so far behind that our offense couldn't even keep up), and the Pitt game (where explosive drives kept them in the game and let them tie the game up after that dumb decision not to go for it on fourth and inches) There is still PLENTY of football to be played this season and the defense looked better this week (despite giving up 40 points). If they can start to create more turnovers as they did against Baylor, a 7 or 8-win season (even though it's very unlikely), is still in the realm of possibility for the Mountaineers.

Baylor Preview: Make Or Break For This Season

Morgantown, West Virginia - Tomorrow night, West Virginia will play their first game out of the bye week against the Baylor Bears in Morgantown at 7:30 PM. Both West Virginia and Baylor are coming off of bye weeks, so we will see what they have in store for us and if we have a chance to beat them. What does ESPN think? Despite Baylor having two losses (to BYU and Oklahoma State respectively), and the game being at home, West Virginia only has a 39.9% chance of winning this game. Despite their record, Baylor has two quality losses, one at THEN #21 BYU and at home to #9 Oklahoma State (as previously mentioned). They did seem to struggle with Iowa State in Ames (who is almost as bad as West Virginia is this season), so I could see West Virginia making it close, but it is still a tough test, home or away. Does West Virginia have any advantages in this matchup? At Quarterback, yes, but everywhere else, it is pretty even. Baylor gives up 37.4 points per game while West Virginia gives up 38.2 points per game. Baylor 248.4 yards passing and 187.8 yards rushing while WVU has 268.6 yards passing and 186.2 yards rushing. If our defense can play better than it has all season, and NOT like it did during the Kansas game, then WVU could pull away with the win. If not, this game is going to end up turning into a shootout. Both teams have good offenses, and mediocre defenses to say the least, and the key to the game will be stopping the pass and limiting the run. What will West Virginia rely on without Donaldson? Tony Mathis will have to play a lights-out game if West Virginia is going to try to match the production we are losing. WVU relies on a mixed offense this season with equal run and pass alike. Maybe, we will see Neal Brown and Graham Harrell call more passing plays to combat the lost production, and if our receivers are able to limit their drops, then maybe we can have a good offensive showing against Baylor. What should we expect? An even-matched game that SHOULD be pretty close. Expect both teams to score in the low to mid 30's. Baylor is favored by 3.5, and that seems just about right. It could be a close, one-possession game if the West Virginia defense can make crucial stops in their own territory and limit Baylor to field goals.

Venables vs. Brown: More Similar Than We Thought

Morgantown, West Virginia -- In a recent YouTube video by MattBeGreat, he described everything that was wrong with Brent Venables, and it sounded EERILY similar to what we are dealing with in Morgantown RIGHT NOW! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N02l6iEDzqI   In the video, he said that Venables is a great guy, but he is not head coach material. Venables has a team motto called "Trust the Process", which is almost identical to Brown's catchphrase of "Trust the Climb". Another thing that he mentioned is that Venables is NOT tough enough with his players to motivate them when they are not playing well, which makes them give up after the first quarter of almost every game that they are losing. Now, we haven't seen that level of collapse from WVU yet, but we have seen another flaw that comes with being too nice, NO discipline. In the second half of games (minus the Texas game), West Virginia looks like an entirely different team. They make more mistakes, have more drops, more mental errors, and more penalties than they do in the prior half. This has been the inevitable downfall for them in their losses this year (mainly Pitt and Kansas). Matt also said that he had faith in Venables at the beginning of the season and seemed like the right hire for Oklahoma. He later went on to say that he was dead wrong. Venables is turning a proud program in the wrong direction, and it is unacceptable with how good Oklahoma is year in and year out. The only reason that West Virginia hasn't seen a drop in success like Oklahoma has this year is that we have far inferior talent than Oklahoma has. Both coaches do NOT know what they are doing, and again, both are identical in the fact that they were great coaches at the level they were coaching before, but not where they are at now. Neal Brown is meant to be a G5 Head Coach and nothing higher, and Venables is meant to be a Defensive Coordinator, and not a Head Coach (especially at Oklahoma). Will Oklahoma fire Venables? In year one, when do they still owe money to the Big 12 if they want to leave the conference early? No, but they will suffer from the same incompetent play calls and coaching that WVU has dealt with for the entirety of Brown's tenure. At least Venables is ONLY in year one, Neal Brown doesn't have that excuse...

This Is The Most Realistic Realignment For the Big 12

Morgantown, West Virginia - With rumors and TV contract debates being rapidly talked about, the pieces for the new era of the new college football world are starting to fall into place. As previously mentioned in our last article about realignment (https://voiceofmotown.com/report-big-12-to-expand-to-16-teams/), Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah are looking to join the Big 12. That isn't where the story ends, though. With Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff stubbornly believing the PAC-12 is worth a lot more than it is, which is holding the conference back from any chance at a real TV deal for the conference. This gives the Big 12 and the Big Ten the chance to purge and put down the PAC-12 for good. The Big Ten on the other hand is looking to seek an offer from Amazon for a new TV deal, and with Oregon, Washington, Standford, and California looking for a new conference, the foundation for a conference leap is looking more and more likely every day. What will this mean for the Big 12?  Well, this gives the Big 12 an opportunity to expand to 20 teams. If the Big 10 decides to expand to 20, it will most likely open up the door for the SEC to expand as well to combat the Big 10's expansion. With this, the SEC will have no other choice but to take the best of the best from the heart of the ACC. My guess is North Carolina, Clemson, Florida State, and Miami. Those are the four best brands from the conference and will allow the Big 12 to take the best of what is left over. This is the BEST case scenario for West Virginia and would allow them and Cincinnati to have a big say on who the new teams from the East would be. The likely members the Big 12 would target are Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, and Louisville. This would be a perfect compromise between East and West in the conference and give the Big 12 the best geographical fit all around with four pods of 5 schools each. Examples of Big 12 Pods: Northeast: West Virginia, Cincinnati, Pitt, NCST, Virginia Tech Midwest: Louisville, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State Southwest: UCF, TCU, Baylor, Houston, Texas Tech, Four Corners: Utah, BYU, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado It will be interesting to see in the next few weeks what conference realignment has in store for the Big 12, but if things end up like this, it will not only be big for the conference but HUGE for West Virginia. It would bring back rivalry games, and allow West Virginia to end up staying in a stable conference that only a little over a year ago, was on the brink of collapse. Unlike the PAC-12 which has made stupid decision after stupid decision, the Big 12 was smart and thought ahead.  

With A Tough Schedule And A New Roster, How Will The 2022-23 Basketball Team...

  (Image from WVU Sports) With a completely new roster for the 2022-23 Basketball Season, the Mountaineers look to improve from a disappointing 2021-22 campaign. Last year, WVU went 16-17 (4-14) ending its season to 6th ranked Kansas (the eventual National Champions) in the second round of the Big 12 tournament. This year, things SHOULD be much different. The Mountaineers are losing almost ALL of their players from last season, returning G Kedrian Johnson, G Kobe Johnson, G Seth Wilson, F Jamel King, and F James Okonkwo. Aside from that, the roster will look completely different with transfers F Emmit Matthews Jr. (Washington), G Erik Stevenson (South Carolina), F Mohamed Wague (Harcum), F Pat Suemnick (Triton), and G Joe Toussaint (Iowa). Though we don't know much about what this new roster entails, we do know their individual stat lines. Matthews averaged 11.7 PPG and 4.7 RPG at Washington. Stevenson averaged 11.6 PPG and 4.7 RPG at South Carolina. Toussaint averaged 4.3 PPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.2 SPG. Wague in JUCO averaged 14.8 PPG, and 11.9 RPG as well as being named a First-Team All-American in JUCO. What will be the really interesting part of this year is how difficult the schedule is. Besides playing the usual tough round-robin conference slate, the Mountaineers play in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament that hosts Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Xavier, Portland State, Purdue, and of course, the Mountaineers. If they can win that tournament, I would say that West Virginia has a really good chance of having a 20-win season, but aside from that, they still have to play Pitt in Pittsburgh, Xavier in Cincinnati (regardless of if they play them in the PK Legacy tournament), Buffalo, UAB, and Navy. All of those teams are no pushovers (especially seeing how West Virginia lost to Buffalo in Morgantown in 2019.) This team, in general, will be A LOT better than last year's team with players that seem to be more determined and experienced than the players we had last year, but it will take a couple of years before this team is a true conference championship contender. I do believe that West Virginia WILL in fact make the NCAA tournament this season though with a predicted 19-11 (10-8) record. This season will be extremely tough, but I have faith that Hall of Fame Coach Bob Huggins has us on the right track for greatness.

What Will Texas Have In Store For WVU And Who Will Be Texas’s Starting...

  (Photo from WV Metro News) Next weekend's game against the Texas Longhorns 2-2 (0-1) will really show what conference play has in store for the Mountaineers this season. Texas's starting QB Quinn Ewers was injured in their game against then top-ranked Alabama in the first quarter. Since then he has been out with a shoulder injury but might make it back to the starting lineup against the Mountaineers this coming Saturday Before last night's game against Texas Tech, Ewers was named the "co-starter". This essentially meant that he had a chance at playing, but was not guaranteed. He ended up not playing against the Red Raiders, but this brings up an important question. Will Quinn Ewers be the starting QB against West Virginia? I would say maybe. Ewers was first predicted to be out for four to six weeks, but it seems like he is recovering faster than experts originally anticipated. He was co-starter this weekend, and with poor QB playing from backup Hudson Card, I would not be at all surprised to see Ewers make the start, despite the risk of injury. Texas needs this victory just as bad or more than West Virginia does. How does this affect West Virginia? This could really be the deciding factor on who wins or loses this weekend. Ewers is a legit QB who proved himself in the first quarter against Alabama, and despite Card's efforts, they were not able to get it done and took a 20-19 loss at home. Texas's offense this season depends on good QB play, and without a true starter, they have struggled. If Ewers makes the start, I think that West Virginia's defense will struggle a good bit and it will come down to key offensive possessions by JT Daniels and the rest of the Mountaineer offense. If Ewers doesn't make the start, I have a feeling that WVU's defense will be able to come up big time, giving our offense the chance to slow it down and run out the clock. Predictions? With Ewers starting, I would say 35-32 Texas in a nail-biter that comes down to mistakes on the defensive side of the ball. If Card is the starter, I expect a lower-scoring game with the Mountaineers taking the victory in Austin 28-24.

OPINION: After a Rocky Start, What Does the Rest of This Season Have In...

  (Photo by WVU Athletics) The West Virginia Mountaineers have started the season out 2-2 (0-1) with wins against FCS opponent Towson and rival Virginia Tech (VPI to many). They also have losses to at the time #17th ranked Pitt and conference foe Kansas in overtime.  I personally believe that when we lost to Kansas, this season really was over, but now, I think that West Virginia is finally starting to prove itself. The Mountaineers had a dominant win against Towson at home, and yes, before anyone tells me that it is Towson, it is still very impressive to not give up any points on defense. After that, they defeated Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. That win could potentially be the turning point of the season as WVU blew out the Hokies by the largest margin of victory at Lane Stadium in Blackdiamond history. If the Mountaineers really want to turn this season around, they have to defeat Texas in Austin and then a potentially Top 15-ranked Baylor Bears team in Morgantown. Texas lost tonight to Texas Tech in Lubbock in OT and I believe that WVU with momentum coming out of the rivalry game against Virginia Tech, has a real chance to pull the upset in Austin.  They then come home to play Baylor. The thing about Baylor is that they have NEVER defeated the Mountaineers in Morgantown since WVU joined the Big 12. If they defeat Texas, then I think that WVU has a real chance to pull the upset on a Thursday night in October. If they lose to Texas, WVU still has a chance to win (especially since it is a night game on Thursday and crazy stuff ALWAYS happens on Thursday nights in Motown.) All in all, this schedule is super difficult for the rest of the season: Saturday, Oct. 1 at #22 Texas Longhorns, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Oct. 8 Oct. 13, #17 Baylor Bears, 7:30 ET   Saturday, Oct. 22 at Texas Tech Red Raiders, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Oct. 29  TCU Horned Frogs, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Nov. 5 at Iowa State Cyclones, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Nov. 12 #6 Oklahoma Sooners, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Nov. 19 Kansas State Wildcats, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Nov. 26 at #9 Oklahoma State Cowboys If West Virginia wins their next two, the schedule thins out quite a bit and they have some real chances to FINALLY put themselves on the map with Coach Neal Brown. If they split the next two or lose both, then I am not sure how this season will unfold and will potentially be the end of his career. A winning season is still VERY possible, and if they play like they did against VT and tweak that offense, even more, the sky is the limit for this team.

Magnificent Mountaineers of the Week

This weekly thread is therapy. Focusing on only the positives gives a calming feeling and helps me look at the bright side of things. And that is important nowadays. The evolution of the coaching carousel should make everyone pause and shudder. Historic and wealthy programs have shown their limits – there are none, and that scares me. It scares me, because it shows how much money has power in today’s version of college football: NIL, conference realignment, and now coaching hires. The NCAA has always been influenced by money, but there were certain checks and balances that organically fell into place. Top coaches would build a program and stay there; they knew things weren’t a given, and other programs couldn’t or wouldn’t pony up the cash to buy them out of their comfort zones. Unfortunately now, there will never again be a Paterno, Bowden, Saban, Switzer, or Bryant. Coaches are mercenaries now. However, they can’t take away Mountaineer culture and pride. Our fan base rallies around our teams and players. The Mountaineers ARE the "professional" sports teams in West Virginia. The players who pass through will always be the driving force behind our fans energy, whether positive or negative. Many will leave as superstars, always to be remembered and recognized any time they step foot on campus. There aren't many other universities out there that can say that. And with that, I give you this week’s Magnificent Mountaineers for the week ending November 28th: Daryl Porter Jr., RS Freshman Cornerback (Football) – I gave the seniors this spot last week, so I felt I had to go somewhere else. Of course, it’s hard to overlook Leddie Brown (19 for 156 and a TD) and Josh Chandler-Semedo (8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 hurry, and 2 interceptions) here, but I want to focus on the future for a little bit. I could also put Tony Mathis Jr. here as well, but as an offensive player, it’s easy to see how good he was on Sunday. And I feel like we don’t talk about Daryl Porter Jr. enough. Porter didn’t play much last year during the COVID shortened season, seeing action in only 6 games. However, with the departures of Dreshun Miller and Tykee Smith, Porter had an opportunity to greatly increase his playing time. He earned a starting spot coming into the season, and he has impressed all season long. In coverage, he has developed into an almost shutdown corner; he’s always in the right spots and has shown the ability to put himself in the right place to break up passes and make things hard for the receiver. He has also been solid as a run defender, especially for someone his size (5’10” 185 pounds). He was rock-steady again against the Jayhawks, notching 5 tackles and 2 pass deflections. Additionally, Porter seemed to always be the defensive back around the ball when a ball hit the dirt, further showing how difficult he makes lives for receivers. After Miller and Smith left, I wondered how long it would be before we brought in another corner that is capable of shadowing the opposition's best target, but with Porter, I’m confident we have that guy on the roster right now. Taz Sherman, Super Senior Guard (Basketball) – I try to avoid putting in the top players in these summaries as I think it is good to show off some names we don’t talk about often. However, Taz Sherman almost singlehandedly helped WVU win a close game against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on November 26th. WVU trailed for most of the game, struggling to keep up with the Colonels hot hand from 3-point land, but Taz was the answer. He put up a career high 28 points on 53% shooting to go with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal, including 17 of WVUs 42 points in the 2nd half. I think Taz Sherman has the best offensive game WVU has seen in a while; he’s crafty, creative, and knows how to get to his spots. Performances like this are likely to be the new norm for Sherman going forward. The WVU Women’s Volleyball team – Stealing a trend from last week, I’m going to include a whole group here. This recognition less because of an individual performance, and more due to a cumulative performance that is changing the long-term outlook of Women's Volleyball program. The Women’s Volleyball team had a special year this year, starting off 10-0 before ending the season with a 19-9 record, good enough for 3rd in the Big 12. This got them a berth to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid, which is the first time in WVU history that the team has made the Tournament. The Mountaineers are led by a trio of seniors: Briana Lynch, Adrian Ell, and Lacey Zerwas. Each of these young women were also named to the Big 12 All-Conference team, with Lynch and Ell making First Team and Zerwas making Second Team. The Mountaineers will face Illinois in the first round of the Tournament on December 3rd with their eyes on a deep tournament run. Make sure to check out Brandon on The Voice of Motown Podcast.  Subscribe and listen below: https://open.spotify.com/show/57Dfw10urlEo8GBstpKrYy?si=10da2ea44d4a42ac

New Year, New(er) Coach, Same old WVU football

We dominated the game and lost. Same exact thing we did under Holgorsen year after year and game after game. Our players would out-play and out-hustle the other team, yet undisciplined penalties, a lack of fundamentals and questionable play calling and clock management would cause us to lose. The game Saturday against the Pokes resulted in the same exact script. Before I go any further, let me establish that I supported going after Coach Neal Brown before his name was even mentioned for the job, and I do still support him and haven’t given up on him. But he hasn’t yet shown me anything to back up a reason for believing in him. Last year was a complete joke. We blew four games, FOUR, in the 4th quarter. Blowing games in the 4th quarter is a result of play calling and clock management. We were either ahead, tied or within one score going into the 4th against Iowa State, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State. We could have gone 9-3 and should have at the VERY worst gone 6-6 and to a Bowl. On top of blowing four games late and giving WVU our first losing season in six years and only the second in seventeen years, ol’ Coach refused to bench a QB that was obviously not good enough to start in a Power 5 conference. Kendall just doesn’t/didn’t have the arm strength to make the necessary throws. People that do not know football saw our rushing stats last year and think that our Offensive Line was terrible, but that just isn’t the case. We couldn’t run the ball because no defense was afraid of our QB throwing the ball and therefore loaded the box. Kendall just couldn’t throw the ball downfield. Throw after throw looked like a wounded duck that hung in the air all day. He finished with 12 TDs and 10 INTs, that is absolutely horrid at any level but especially college where the year before – WIll Grier threw 37 TDs to 8 INTs. I understood starting Kendall out of the gate, he was highly rated from the time he was graduating high school through the time Lincoln Riley said that the QB battle between he and Kyler Murray was neck and neck. But after a handful of games it was obvious that he just didn’t have the arm for Power 5. Yet Coach refused to bench him and not even give a CHANCE to ANYONE and especially not Holgorsen recruit Trey Lowe that was supposed to be our future and could’ve been our Starter for the next four years as a Redshirt Freshman. No offensive line can run block when eight or nine defenders are in the box. And as far as pass blocking, we were very good. We gave up less than 2 sacks in half of all our games and our Left Tackle (Colton McKivitz) got drafted in the 5th round. If you’re wondering why I’m rehashing a lot of last year – I'm pointing out that this past Saturday was déjà vu. We absolutely dominated the Pokes and STILL got beat by 2 touchdowns. We had double digit penalties and multiple fumbles (one for a scoop and score reminiscent of 2018 against the Sooners). At one point we had nearly double the yards but were still down 17-0. Which brings us to the muffed FG that continues the mediocre Special Teams from the Holgorsen era. I picked us going 6-4 before the season started, hoping that Brown’s game management had improved over year 1 to the point that we would win a few of those games that come down to the wire in the 4th Quarter. Unfortunately, if what happened against Oklahoma State continues throughout the season, it will be another below .500 year when we should be a bowl team. I gave Coach Brown a pass last year, he had a new team, new program and new Conference, so I said, “fine, yes we had the talent to go 9-3 but I’ll give him a pass in the first year while figuring out what he has and what to do with it.” But he doesn’t get a pass this year. No one expects(ed) him to go 9-1, I don’t even care if we went 2-8 (because the only games that should be a given are Eastern KY and Kansas. You won’t hear it from the “academic Gods of the Big 10” but The Big 12 is the toughest Conference from top to bottom, the only bad team is KU) as long as we left everything on the field and it wasn’t more of the Head Coach blowing the games like it’s been for the past 8 years. Mountaineer fans deserve better than having that sick feeling of being the better team yet still losing that we've had for large portions of our history and especially since 2012. I still believe in Coach Neal Brown but he needs to right the ship starting this week against Baylor. If he gives us our 3rd losing season in 8 years, he's going to lose a lot of the base, including me. We just saw against Ok State how good we can be, they are supposed to be a favorite to win the Conference, along with OU and Texas - and we should have beaten them. So there is no reason for us finishing below 500 again. I don't buy into the mediocrity accepting motto of "Trust The Climb." We should've/could've won 9 games last year so there is not much "climbing" to do, we're already there.

WVU and BLM: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Maya Angelou once wrote “when people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Over the past few months, some in WVU’s fan base have shown themselves to be easily triggered, emotionally fragile, and hostile to the idea that WVU’s student athletes of color are full fledged human beings, with lives and concerns that transcend football, and not just a source of entertainment.  Kerry Martin’s conflict with WVU defensive coordinator Vic Koenning was our first look under the rock. Martin alleged that Koenning browbeat players with his religious beliefs and frequently interjected his personal political beliefs in interactions with players. His allegations were met with support among teammates and, ultimately, vindicated by Koenning’s exit from the program. But a subset of WVU *fans* labeled Martin “soft” and “disruptive”--for the sin of speaking out, or, incredibly, not following the proper channels for voicing his concerns. This, despite the fact that Martin maintained he voiced his concerns to the coaching staff on more than one occasion, without effect.  Now, the same subset of *fans* are upset by the inclusion, on the back of WVU helmets, of a small sticker--BLM: Black Lives Matter--an assertion of basic human rights and basic human dignity. Nothing more, nothing less.  Objections center around two basic criticisms: (1) that politics should be kept out of college football, and (2) that BLM is a “terrorist organization.“ If you follow sports even casually, then you know that politics, historically, are no more separate from sports then they are from any aspect of human life. The notion is laughable. From Jack Johnson in the 1920's to Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith in the 1960’s, and Colin Kaepernick in our own era, athletes have often used the platform of sports to bring the concerns of their communities to broader public attention. And make no mistake: despite the rose-colored view of historical perspective, their triumph was not inevitable. Each was met with resistance and public backlash on the road to broader acceptance: often smeared as “agitators” and “radicals” by their detractors.  Sound familiar? As Mountaineer sports fans know, politics have intruded into our love of the game on numerous occasions. WVU’s football series with Marshall only came about after arguments were made on the floor of West Virginia’s state legislature. And those games were sponsored by the “Friends of Coal”—a front group for the West Virginia Coal Association--and billed as the “Friends of Coal Bowl.” Regardless of your stance on coal, it is not apolitical.  The second criticism--that BLM is a “terrorist organization”--is just as easily dismissed. BLM has not been designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization. Its actions meet none of the criteria under federal law that define domestic terrorism. And it appears in no reputable terrorism database as a “perpetrator group.” When someone tells you “BLM is a terrorist organization,” they are stating an opinion. And not an opinion that is particularly well-informed. WVU has chosen to lead on an issue of pressing national significance. They have cast their lot with people who know that some issues are larger than the games we use to distract ourselves on a Saturday afternoon. They are opposed by the usual champions of the status quo. They are opposed by people who are consistently on the wrong side of history; people for whom NO form of protest by athletes of color is ever legitimate, no matter how peaceful.  Don’t be that fan. Be better. Because Mountaineers lead. Mountaineers Go First.  

WATCH: Troops sing “Country Roads” on their way back home to WV from Deployment

Troops returning back home to West Virginia from deployment broke out into an impromptu version of “Country Roads” and it was captured on video! Check it out below: https://twitter.com/barstoolsports/status/1236409101913067522?s=20

Next Game: 1/31 at TCU 9:00pm on ESPNU

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