Sorry for the tardiness.
There is still a sense of bewilderment and awe about what occurred Saturday at Mountaineer Field. Is our offense truly that dominant? Has anyone found our defense? I heard the defensive bus used the Sabraton exit, took a wrong turn and ended up lost in Preston County Saturday afternoon. At least, I hope that is true.
Then again I may have been looking at the game in the wrong way. As we were leaving the stadium my wife asked if I was ever nervous about the outcome. I responded, "Of course I was nervous; we only won by a touchdown." She smiles and says, "Oh, I just pretended they never scored, so I was not nervous at all." That is one way to handle what went down on Saturday.
This is probably the easiest game to grade in all the years I have been attempting to grade each unit. The stats smack you in the face and only lead to one result.
Geno Smith: 100%
Holgorsen said after the game that perfection is impossible in football. I disagree with that offensive mastermind assumption. Geno Smith’s performance was absolutely perfect. The state line reads that he threw six incomplete passes, but I only remember the first.
As much credit as Geno gets for slinging it around, equal praise needs to be put on the unit for hauling in those passes. Seriously, 300, 200 and 100 yard receivers? Insane. Oh, and there was the small matter of this catch by J.D. Woods to help keep the clock running at the end:
Running Backs: B
On a day where the "Air Raid" made all of the headlines, this unit was still able to churn out 110 yards on the ground (not including Geno's rushing numbers or WR runs). Buie managed a respectable 82 yards, but still needs to make quicker decisions. Garrison chipped in 28 yards, including a key 17 yard scamper to run out the clock at the end. Bottom line is that we need Alston's leadership on the field for this unit to flourish as well.
Offensive Line: A
I’m not giving them an A+ because, according to the talking heads, they faced 4 or less rushers over 60% of the time. They should be able to protect Geno when the opposing team isn’t blitzing. The few times Baylor did blitz, they put pressure on Geno.
Impossible to grade if they don’t show up.
Special Teams: C-
Our kick-off coverage was very good. Other than that we left a lot to be desired on special teams. Both punters saw action and both royally messed up. Corey Smith kicked to the wrong side of the field and Molinari shanked his kick out of bounds. We are going to need one of these guys to find some consistency if we hope to win. Our defense has a hard enough time stopping the other team, so the last thing we need is for our punters to give them a short field. Oh yeah, we also missed a field goal.
Dana Holgorsen: A+
He is the perfect coach for this WVU team. He walked into a wealth of talent on offense and he is his guys clicking on all cylinders. His personality fits in perfectly with Mountaineer fans and his loose swagger can be seen in his offense. For the next home game instead of the Man Trip, I hope I get a Man Date with Coach Holgorsen.
Joe Deforest: B
He gets a "B" for bust. So far he has not come close to accomplishing what he was brought in to accomplish. We needed him to improve our special teams and maintain a level of consistency on defense that would allow our offense some room for error. He has done neither. After that performance against Baylor, let’s hope there is nowhere to go but up.
I thought the "Stipe the Stadium" was going to be an epic failure. It was a huge success. I thought I would hear about some instances of extremely poor fan behavior. There were none. I did not know if the general fan base would fully comprehend the importance of our Big 12 debut. Our fan base understood the importance of the day and brought Mountaineer Field back to life. WVU’s preseason marketing tag line "Big Things Are Coming" fits absolutely perfectly for this season. WVU fans have always thought we were one of the big boys, this is the season we either plant our flag on the mountaintop or get slapped with the realization we have a steeper climb than we thought to reach the top.
Texas Predictions: F
After the game all I heard was how Texas is going to kill us. However, nobody could name a soul on Texas other than head coach Mack Brown or starting QB David Ash. This "evaluation" by fans encapsulates one major problem with college football. You see it with pundits and fans alike, the team name matters more than the names on the back of the jersey. We are going to roll into Austin and introduce the Horns to Mountaineer football. I’m worried more about Texas Tech, than I am about Texas. Let’s Goooooo Mountaineers!!