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

Oklahoma State University vs West Virginia University 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.