FanPost

Trying to put the pieces together......

I sat down after milling the loss over in my head and posting back and fourth with some of my fellow fans.  First off I would like to say that I attended the game and my experience in Baton Rouge and with the LSU fans was top notch (writers note: As at WVU, stay away from their students).  The whole weekend,  minus the loss, was incredible.  I will say this, ESPN has us all drinking the cool-aid; The game day atmosphere, the game itself and the overall fan behavior was no better and in some cases below what I have come to see and revel in every home game saturday in Morgantown. (writers note again, the UNLV game will be my 110 straight home game.  I think I am safe in calling myself an expert on WVU home games).  Now to the meat of this article.  I happened to be flipping the channels today and caught HCBS weekly press conference on the fox station out of Pittsburgh.  He said a lot of the right things, even seemed like a pretty good HC, what really got me was how no one there asking questions really asked him  the hard ones.  Questions like why in year three of this regime is the Offense still so bad?  Why have we seen no improvement by the O-line, or even why he seems to take no part in the events as they unfold during the game?  I have found myself more and more looking over at him during a game especially timeouts to see where he is and what he is doing.  During the LSU game Saturday he didn't enter a huddle during a timeout till the third quarter, yes that is what you read, the third quarter.  I understand he wants to let his coaches do their job, but name one other major D-1 school that has a HC that takes that little a part in what is going on.  The best part being that when he was in the huddle he was clapping and trying to pump them up, not really adding anything to the mix.  He watched the same game we all did, yet he stood there not once taking the reigns or telling Mullen to pull his head out of his butt.  If you are going to be a head coach you need to take some initiative, especially when your OC has lost his nerve and not calling a game plan that you have no chance with.  Devine went down injured yet we still kept going to him, the Defense was coming at us full tilt yet we did nothing to try and slow them down, they over pursed, they played man to man and we did nothing, for the most part, to try and exploit that.  The one play we ran all night that was designed to go against that worked perfectly, Bailey was barely touched going into the end zone, yet we never went back to that play again.  

I have seen and read a lot of things on this board and will be the first to say that I am not a fan of HCBS or his offensive line coach or coordinator.  How is it possible to continue to be this bad and inconsistent with the level of talent that we have?  How is it that in year three, we as fans and the coaches have no clue where we are going as an offense?  What exactly is our philosophy? Under Nehlen we were a big hard nosed running attack that threw in the pass to keep the defense honest, Under the Product we were a spread team that ran and ran and maybe passed if we had to.  We played hard, we played fast and we played tough and very rarely we were stopped, yes it sucked when we were but how many games did we watch where the opposing team knew what was coming and couldn't stop it? There is nothing like that with this staff and never will be.  Here is something to chew on, in 2006 we ranked 5th in total offense in 2007 we ranked 15th.  After HCBS and the Mullen/Johnson trio arrived we finished 61st in 2009 and 59th in 2008.  We have yet to score forty points in a game and worst of all have had to rely on our defense and mistakes by our opponent to win.  I would love to have someone explain to me on how that is progress.  We went from running people out of the stadium to scraping by and the worst part is that our talent level hasn't really dipped.  I know that the supporters will point to the change in offense and personnel or say that Mullen has had to break in a new QB every year but that is complete and total garbage and a piss poor excuse. 

On the flip side lets compare Jeff Casteel over the same period of time.  In 2006 we ranked 62nd, in 2007 we ranked 7th, in 2008 we ranked 36th and in 2009 we ranked 36th.  Casteel had to coach under the product, someone who didn't really recruit for the defense and in some cases even took the better players for offense.  It wasn't until HCBS came in that the defense was given a fair shake and we started going ofter players for it.  He has always been able to do a lot with a little.  Since he has been here our Defense has always given us a chance or at the very least slowed down the opposing offense enough to allow ours to pull away.  He has never made excuse, never complained, something Mullen does far to much, what is even worse is he has very rarely taken credit for his F-ups.  It is always someone else's fault  never his mind you because he is a genius.  I will be the first to admit I disliked him {Casteel} a ton under the product because it seemed like compared to the O they weren't pulling the weight they needed to but in all actuality they were doing everything they could with what they were given.  Even the most dedicated HCBS supporters have to admit that our Defense over the last 5-6 years has always been consistent.

This brings me to my final point.  People talk about HCBS being the winningest coach in WVU history over his first two years or talk about how we have won nine games and are 1-1 in his tenure (Fiesta bowl doesn't count because he did it with a different OC and as we all know that team had a huge chip on its shoulder.).  I say that is BS, Nehlen and the Product had to coach against the likes of Miami, VT, BC on a regular basis as well as a MUCH better UL, Rutgers, and even U Conn.  Stewart has had the luxury of only having to really deal with on good school in his three years UC.  It is pretty easy to pile up wins against vastly inferior competition, and the funny part is he is yet to win the BE or get to a BCS game.  How is that possible?  Because he has won most of the games he is supposed to and fallen flat on his face in the ones we needed and down right embarrassed us all against FSU, ECU, Colorado, You get the point.  How else is it that under stewart we are 7-8 in road game? Or that against inferior teams we seem to play to their level?  When was the last time we watched WVU totally dominate a team in the HCBS era? Exactly it has never happened.  

So what do we do?  Where do we go from here?  I can't answer that, I can only say that something has to change and it has to be done fast.  In 2007 we were at the door knocking to get in the room with the "elites" of the CFB world and since then have been on the steady slide downward.  The product got us there and bolted and the administration did saddle us with a painter, because with him we have slid back into mediocrity.  After the product went 3-8 in 2001 he overhauled the defensive staff to make things better, he changed things because he was smart enough to know that Phil wasn't going to get it done.  Every person reading this know that Mullen and Johnson are in over their heads that hiring them was a gamble and it didn't pay off.  We need to fix at least that part of the equation to give WVU a legit shot to achieve the lofty expectations that started under the product.  We can be one of those teams, and maybe even one of those teams with HCBS, but he needs to do the right thing and fix what is broken something I think he is in capable of doing.  Make the hard choice, tell these guys thanks for trying but your not the guys we need and send them on their way.  In a perfect world I would love HCBS to be the guy, to stick it to all the Rich Rod's, Saban's, Petrino's in this world, but lets face it life isn't a movie, or even a fairytale.  Our state and our university are a wonderful and special place, not to mention some where where you can succeed.  This isn't Marshall or Tulsa, This is WVU a place with a passionate fan base, a rich tradition and most of all the desire to succeed no matter what people tell us.  

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