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West Virginia vs. Libery Recap In One Word: Eh.

OK, maybe more than just "eh," but that pretty accurately describes my feeling today on yesterday's effort.  There was some good, some bad, and a lot of things that need taken care of quickly.

Let's get to this, shall we?

  • This game isn't meaningless, but it's important not to weight it too much.  Just because Tennessee rocked Western Kentucky doesn't make them a better or worse team than Iowa, that sneaked by Northern Iowa.  You get the win, get a better idea on what to work on, and you move on to the next week.  With that said, you don't want to show as much weakness as we did at times yesterday.
  • Kickoff coverage is an abomination.  There is simply no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  For the head coach of our football team to be in charge of this flaming pile of a unit is simply unacceptable.  If there isn't marked improvement immediately, this will continue to cost us multiple wins this year.  Ultimately, if the head coach's pet unit isn't up to par, and it's very obviously not, it could start to cause players to lose respect for their coach.  We certainly don't want that, but it's the direction we're unfortunately headed.  This is a huge litmus test for Stewart, and after week one, it's not looking good.
  • I am not worried about our defense, at least not yet.  They were exposed quite a few times yesterday, but this is an experienced unit with a veteran coordinator and veteran assistants.  Our defense is/was supposed to be our strongsuit, and I don't think yesterday's game changed that.  Still, we need to get the hell off the field on third down.  Without that, we'll continue to get worn out and be vulnerable late in games.  If we get better on third down defense, this team can go far.  If we don't?  Eeek.
  • Then again, Liberty was completely unable to run on our defense.  They combined to have only 89 yards total as a team all day.  That's a very good thing.  At least we can shut down one aspect of an offense.  Next item on the agenda: the other aspect.
  • This offense is going to be better than expected.  Jarrett Brown looked to be in complete command all afternoon, the offensive line was stronger than expected for game #1, and we mixed in a great deal of different looks and attacks while not revealing too much for future opponents.
  • Tyler Bitancurt can ball.  Now, let's try and score more touchdowns and not let him make this many field goals ever again.
  • How do you not go for it on fourth and one from the Liberty 41?  The stadium was downright shocked when the punt unit came on to the field.  And, of course, the punt sails into the endzone and nets 21 whole yards.  That still burns me up a little.  Of course, that could be a larger problem, being...
  • The short-yardage unit looks better.  I saw improvement, especially with Ryan Clarke getting into the endzone, but this will certainly need continued improvement.  Or at least show the same improvement next week.  Converting six of twelve is a good start, though.
  • Someone taught Jock Sanders how to catch.  Plus, even though he suffered a drop or two, Tyler Urban looks to be very involved in the offense.  This makes us a more dangerous team.
  • Bill Stewart is a filthy liar.  All week, or even all fall camp, we heard that Noel Devine and Jock Sanders would be returning the first kickoff of the year.  Then, who does he trot out around noon on Saturday?  Mark Rodgers and Tavon Austin.  Rodgers made the most of it, though, averaging over 26 yards per return.  
  • We won.  That's a good thing, right?
  • Next week is enormous. East Carolina will obviously be a much stronger test than Liberty, but based on what I saw at Mountaineer Field on Saturday, it's certainly still a winnable game.