So, in our last post we looked at how EA rated the offensive and defensive units as well as the overall rating for our Mountaineers. Today, I'm being joined by our own SmithFire13 to discuss these ratings and if we really feel that EA did what they set out to do when they say "Keep It Real."
So Smitty, what's your opinion of WVU's rankings on NCAA '14? Did EA Sports keep it real?
SMITTY: I feel like last year's numbers of Off-91, Def-76, and Overall-87 were closer than to what we should expect this year. The offense at 83 is really up in the air because we STILL don't know who our quarterback is. I feel that we have the potential to be around there, but without an offensive line and a solid leader behind the center, it's a shot in the dark.
As for defense, I have no idea from where they got that 87. Perhaps they are saying we will play defense like Sidney Crosby. Sure, we have "Hope" aka Karl Joseph and a revamped coaching squad that has recently impressed Don Nehlen, who was quoted in the Dominion Post as saying:
"I think our defense will be 100 percent improved," Nehlen said. "I watched some in the spring, and I think (new coordinator Keith) Patterson was doing a heck of a job."
Either way, that 87 means we are comparable to most of the Big Ten defenses on the game with Neb-85, Penn St-85, Purdue-85, and Wisconsin-88 which simply doesn't seem realistic.
What about Overall?
Smitty: All in all, I think 84 is a fair. We are on par with Cal, Arizona St, and Oregon State with all 84 overalls and I would say that would be a good group to put us in. Not great but competitive. I wouldn't be surprised if we were very near those teams in the AP Rankings fighting for spots between #20-#25.
What effect, if any do you think the late offensive transfers (who were likely not factored into the game during development) will have on the real team this fall? Would they have had a positive impact on the rating we were assigned?
Smitty: With Charles Sims being on the Maxwell Watch List, I would say it is in good opinion that he will have a very big and equally positive impact on our offensive numbers. The backfield this year is pretty stacked and, by adding Sims, the offensive just adds more depth and ability to spell different positions as well as adding new wrinkles to the offense to give said weapons the ball. Having the ability to rest skill players while still being explosive with the replacement players makes WVU a very tough team to play against regardless of location.
As far as Trickett goes, we still don't know how much he'll play.
Do you think the assistant coaching shakeup will have any positive effect on the team's actual results, despite any shortcomings in player abilities (on either or both sides of the ball)?
Smitty: I am in full confidence that the pass defense will improve from last year simply by stopping all the damn face guarding. Patterson will hone in the fundamental areas that our secondary completely lacked discipline in last fall leading to our late season demise. That being said, I am expecting that the defense will start to use strategic blitzes to force quarterbacks to be tempted to throw into Karl Joseph's half of the field, hopefully causing turnovers or just wrecking havoc on the ball.
Then we have offensive line Coach Crook coming in from Stanford and their hard nosed running game. He utilizes a mix of man and zone techniques whereas Coach Bedenbaugh was strictly a zone guy. With the increased focus on the man blocking, hopefully more toughness is instilled and those short yardage situations won't be as frustrating as the last couple of years.
Thanks to Smitty for helping us break down EA Sports NCAA '14 football game (now available at your favorite retailer). It does seem reasonable to believe that the ratings they've established for West Virginia did manage to "Keep It Real."