While I would love to say it is time to focus on the game and that the coaching drama is behind us, those statements could not be further from the truth. The reason, Dave Johnson and Jeff Mullen are still on the WVU staff. The offense (and the offensive line) was the main reason for all three of our losses this season. For better or worse, the offense will be the key to tonight's game.
Quick sidebar: I'm not saying Mullen and Johnson are going to "throw the game" because from all accounts they are consummate professionals, but it could definitely change their coaching styles. Wait, what am I saying? There is no way they could coach any worse, so those two coaching differently is exactly what we need to win the game. Tonight is going to be awesome! Wahoooo!
In all seriousness though, both Johnson and Mullen will likely treat their last performance in Gold 'n Blue as an audition for a job next season. Hopefully, that means both units will be running like well lubricated machines and produce like we hoped they would at the start of the season. It would be foolish, though, to expect that to happen. If this offense has taught me anything, it's that to expect the unexpected, and not necessarily in a good way.
At this point, everyone has given the preview and predictions for the game, but none have done it like this...
OFFENSIVE KEY TO THE GAME:
Jeff Mullen is going to pull out all the stops and go out in a blaze of glory. Double reverse pass with Bradley Starks, don't mind if I do. Flea flicker to Jock Sanders, looks good to me. Annexation of Puerto Rico, it worked in Little Giants, it will work against an ACC team.
I'm pretty sure he has labeled his offensive gameplan "F***You." With a big F-you to the Mountaineer fanbase, Jeff Mullen will step aside and let Dana Holgorsen takeover.
DEFENSIVE KEY TO THE GAME
Bruce Irvin's pressure on Russell Wilson. With NC State's inability to run the ball, it will be forced into many passing situations, which is prime hunting ground for Bruce Irvin. Russell Wilson better be quick or he will be dead...
SPECIAL TEAMS KEY TO THE GAME
Make plays in space, especially tackles. Can't stress this enough. Always make plays in space.
ULTIMATE KEY TO THE GAME
Make plays in space. Like I said, I can't stress this enough, yet I continue to try.
MOTIVATION FOR THE GAME
While it may seem the players have nothing to play for, I disagree. The players have pride and want to send their coaches (and themselves, if seniors) out with a victory. Leave it Bill Stewart to get these guys ready to play.
Usually, bowl games are seen as either the end of a successful season or the start of next season if the season hasn't exactly gone to plan. The game tonight falls into neither of those camps for WVU, as this season was both unsuccessful and impossible to see as the start of next with so much change coming in the offseason. A few positives can come from this game, however:
- Send the seniors out with a bang. All of the graduating players have poured the last four of five years of their lives into this program. Regardless of the stage, it's always nice to go out with a win.
- Recruiting. We're the only game on TV, we're in the heart of fertile Florida, and we're playing a school from a BCS conference. These wins always help,
And really, that's about it. A win is always better then a loss, but outside of those two things, it's a rather ho-hum affair today in Orlando for the Mountaineers. Maybe that's why we only sold 1/3 of our ticket allotment.
Can you feel the excitement?