Sunday Morning Thoughts

Morgantown, West Virginia – There is a lot of unwrap following West Virginia’s victory in the Battle for the Black Diamond Trophy over the #15 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies.  Although it turned into an ugly win in the second half, the Mountaineers got it done against a ranked team and bitter rival.  Here’s what stood out:

West Virginia fans really showed up

On a neutral field or on the road, Virginia Tech probably would have won the game.  Despite being outplayed on all sides of the ball, West Virginia allowed them to hang around.  The fans were the difference yesterday and the student section in particular deserves major kudos.

Neal Brown plays to not lose, not to win

This might not be a terrible thing.  The only thing that matters in football is winning and West Virginia won.  But if Neal Brown was more aggressive in the second half, the Mountaineers would have likely run away with the game and won in convincing fashion.

Instead, Brown shut down his offense and went into safe mode, and it very nearly cost him the game.  While it’s understandable that Brown would want to protect his lead, he could have run more effective and less predictable plays while remaining safe.  

For instance, how about a reverse play with Winston Wright?  Wright touched the ball once on offense yesterday, a catch for 6 yards.  That’s unacceptable.  Running Wright on a reverse play is just as safe as a Leddie Brown run up the middle, and it’s almost certainly going to get more yards.

Brown playing Greene when he needed yards is very telling

When the Mountaineers needed a few yards on a big 3rd down and 2 late in the game, Brown put Garrett Greene in the game.  Greene is clearly capable of making things happen and gaining yards when he’s given the freedom to do so.

Those claiming that Greene can’t make reads in the offense, that’s on the coaching staff.  He’s been in the program for two years and should be able to run the offense at this point.

Some claim that he can’t make the throws that Doege can.  Unfortunately, he has not been given the opportunity to show whether he can or not, and it just can’t be much worse that Doege.  Doege missed multiple throws and made terrible decisions throughout the game, and even his good throws were really his wide receivers making tremendous plays on the ball.

West Virginia’s defense is for real 

Not 100% sold on Daryl Porter, Jr. as a consistent defensive back yet, but he plays hard and is very young.  Dante Stills has been shockingly quiet through three games.  Having said that, the defense looked fast and hungry.  This might be the best overall defense in the Big 12 Conference and they are very capable of containing Spencer Rattler and the Oklahoma Sooners next weekend.