Justin K. Aller
I'll save all the gloom and doom talk for other blogs. I, just like you, know there is much to be unhappy about over the past 3 outcomes. I did however want to express my appreciation for a Mountaineer who has been nothing but a joy to watch thus far, Tavon Austin.
Once again, Tavon proved to be a constant star in a season where most players have had their up and down games. Austin put together another stellar performance against TCU with over 100 yards receiving with a TD and an electric 76 yard punt return late in the fourth quarter that most fans thought would have been the game winning TD. There was a play he performed however, that I thought was equally as impressive as the previous two mentioned. It won't make any box scores. Heck, it didn't even happen on the playing field. I witnessed it on the sideline.
It was still early in the game and WVU had just made a big 3rd down stop. Pat Miller had broken up a pass and the D-unit who has struggled tremendously at times did their job, they forced TCU to punt. Austin ran over to Miller and with the same enthusiasm and energy we've grown accustom from the guy, low-fived Miller about 5 times until Miller couldn't help but to be as animated as his energetic teammate. He was the only offensive player I saw come over to the D-unit to congratulate them of their stop. This supportive act really went a long way from a general fans view. You always hear how they are a team. How the defense and offense and special teams win or lose as a team, but I actually saw it. I saw Tavon show love for his teammates who have been under scrutiny for their lack luster performance this season by the fans and media.
Now this is not a knock on any other offensive player, but more so a praise of Austin's excitement to support his fellow teammates. This team has looked good at times and bad at times, but the one constant of the season has been Tavon's positive energy and his ability to put 100% on the line every-time he wears the Gold and Blue.
When I think of all the big plays he's had in the past I can't help but to smile. The kickoffs/punt returns for TDs, the Orange Bowl romp, the 7 yard slants or button hooks that he turns into TDs, the tip passes that helps pad Geno's stats, the little stutter step he does before he goes out of bounds to gain possibly 1 more yard. And once he gets in the end-zone...you can feel the pure joy he brings to the game. The tossing the ball to the ref like he's been there before (because he has), the leaping into his teammates, the high-fives, the low-fives, the whatever-fives they do nowadays. It's not show boating, it's having fun. It's celebrating the joys that made this game so fun for him growing up. It's celebrating that hard work pays off. That all the off-season workouts and training are worth it when you finally get in the end zone.
Austin has 4 regular season games left as a Mountaineer. While a lot of areas with the football team need to be improved in that time, Austin's enthusiasm is not one of them. I look forward to watching this guy play his last two games at Mountaineer Field. I look forward to supporting this guy at the next level where ever that may be but, mostly I look forward to the unmatched enthusiasm and energy he brings to the game and hopefully life. In a time when wins are hard to come by and most of the fan base is rightfully upset I have no shame in saying I have fun watching Tavon Austin play.