WVU played a near perfect 1st quarter, excluding Austin's fumble. Then, things changed.
Geno Smith and Steadman Bailey will become the most prolific passing duo in Mountaineer history, and it won't even be close. Geno Smith is the real deal. As a true Sophomore, sure it's nice to see him deliver perfect touch passes on corner routes while directing the troops down the field. However, it's his pocket awareness, Roethlisberger-esque ability to move around in the pocket to extend the play, that really colors me impressed. He just looks comfortable in the pocket, despite impending doom lurking around the corner. That play to Sanders (where Sanders made an unbelievable spin move while catching the ball (or was it Austin)) was a great play by the QB and WR. When WVU was up 21-0, I thought for sure we'd finally score 50 (a feat that teams like WVU in disrespected conferences need to do in order to receive bonus points in the polls and move them up in BCS rankings). Man, was I wrong.
First, many of you think that my disdain for Stewart is because he acts like a redneck, sounds uneducated, etc. And you're partly right. But that truly isn't the primary reason for my distaste of him as head coach. It's because of the following scenario that happened at the end of the 1st half:
--WVU, holding a 21-0 lead and with all the momentum, holds the Terps on 3rd down in their own territory w/ 1:40 to go. WVU has 2 timeouts remaining. Bill Stewart fails to call a timeout. What is he doing? There's no strategy where you don't call a timeout. It's automatic that you do. He was doing something else and not managing the game, period. You call the timeout and let Geno go to work, gaining critical experience in the 2:00 offense, w/ 1:40 to go.
--WVU then comes out essentially on the right hash, nothing on first down (clock ticking).....at this point you assume that they must be content to close out the first half (which is completely inappropriate given the momentum of the offense). You would be wrong. 2nd down and they call a Devine run to the short side of the field.....Inevitably this produces a Devine run out of bounds....Maryland has 2 timeouts remaining. If you run the ball up middle or to the long side of the field, you force Maryland to use their final 2 TO's and then you go into the locker room after 3rd down.
All of you are football fans. You understand this sequence very clearly. Why doesn't the head coach? It is his job to manage the game and he was nowhere to be found. He is often very confused while on the sideline. It is clear from his demeanor, actions on the sideline. Bill Stewart is a mouth-breather (mouth always open in look of "What's going on?")
These types of sequences have already/will cost us games in the future. Think Stewart not challenging Pat White's fumble at ECU, his game management at end of Colorado game, etc.
--The defense, other than that #6, looked awesome in this game. Maryland's offense is deplorable but that doesn't take away from how well they played. It was great to see their defensive line/linebackers finally realize that when you put pressure on the QB you take immense pressure off the secondary (exactly what Dick Lebeau does). The energy at the beginning of the game was electric and great to see. I only wish that WVU was able to finish a game. We just don't seem to have that ability w/ this current coaching staff. It's obvious that the talent is there, and it's obvious that the potential to finish games is there, but I think the coaching staff will hold us back in doing so.
--Excited for the 6 game season to start next week. As I've said before, I think it's going to take minimum 4-2 for Stewart to save his job, with this soft schedule, and I think he has his work cut out for him leading the squad into Baton Rouge.