Welcome to the debut edition of The Musket Mailbag. Let's dive right into it, shall we?
Smitty: Hell yeah, basketball talk. The quick overview of #6 Virginia is that they are just as nasty as WVU on the defense side in philosophy and received a lot more national attention for it. Shooting guard Justin Anderson (12.0ppg) is playing for the Mavs right now and forward Darion Atkins (7.6ppg/6.0rbpg) graduated. Considering UVA only averages 65ppg, losing around 19 points isn't anything to scoff at. That being said, seniors Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gills are both legitimate All-American candidates making the Cavaliers an ACC title contender and in the race for much, much more.
You already know that WVU faces significant losses at point guard with both Juwan and Gary leaving, but Beetle Bolden's season-ending-before-it-began injury puts even more stress on ball-handing for the Mountaineers. Considering this game is in December, West Virginia will have some time to work out the kinks in the half court. To answer your question, WVU will need to have those kinks worked out to the point where they can move the ball to effectively break down that stingy Virginia defense. Sadly, Esa Ahmad's dad deleted his tweet revealing the stat sheet of the Temple scrimmage, but if Ahmad can score like he did against the Owls, then the Mountaineers have puncher's chance in every game on the schedule.
Side note: there may be more concussions induced by this game than points scored. It will be brutal.
Michael: Tennessee is the first team that comes to mind (mostly because I have a soft spot for the Vols). I know we play the Vols in 2018 in Charlotte, but I'd love to see a home & home set up following the neutral site game. The Mountaineers have never played the Vols. Tennessee and West Virginia just seems like a natural fit for a series, and I'm honestly surprised it hasn't happened in the past.
Michael: This is something that's made me want to bang my head on my desk over and over again, but I'm not sure who the blame falls on. I tend to lean toward placing the blame on Skyler Howard, because I find it hard to believe Dana Holgorsen is not competent enough in his play calling to call a play to get the first down. There have been numerous 3rd & short yardage downs where Howard has had a receiver wide open just past the sticks, but chose to throw it deep to someone in coverage. Now, if this is something that continues through the backend of our schedule, I'm going to have to start transitioning that blame onto Dana, even if he's not calling for a deep pass, because that's something he should be addressing with Skyler in practice.
@SmokingMusket Do you think we will see a quarterback change? Doesn't seem like the team is behind Skylar anymore.— Jason Paul Realtor® (@JPaulHuntsville) October 30, 2015
Smitty: This question makes me sad, but it's a legitimate one. While I'm an expert in neither quarterbacking nor body language, Skyler didn't drop those touchdowns in Fort Worth. I would argue that he underthrew a few easy catches which made them into contested incompletions, but that doesn't mean he has lost the team. It is impossible to tell if the "team is behind him" without being intimately involved in the locker room. One thing I do know is that losing makes everyone unhappy. Obviously the fans are unhappy, but the staff is unhappy, and the players are unhappiest of all. How can you decipher between being upset over losing and upset over losing at a certain individual? Personally, with everything that Holgo is saying in publicly, I don't see Skyler coming out unless he throws three picks in a first half.
We'd like to thank everyone for their questions for the debut edition of The Musket Mailbag, and want to encourage everyone to send in their questions for the future. We have a full week before the next edition, so you have plenty of time to get your questions in. Remember, there are no stupid questions.