It’s hard to not come away from the first 8 quarters of WVU football we’ve seen this year and be really, really excited. Certainly that excitement is tempered by the fact that we all probably agree that swapping quarters 5-8 with 1-4 would mean an unblemished record, but it’s not tempered by much. This is, in many ways, the most promise we’ve seen from a WVU offense in 5 years. Are they perfect? Of course not, but we’ve seen proven commodities in the backfield continue to prove themselves and unknown commodities at WR look like superstars in the making. And I haven’t even mentioned the Jesus-haired QB who can spin it.
Lot of reasons to feel good if you’re a Mountaineer fan right now. Let’s tweet about it!
Yes Holly, he is pretty good.
I’ll be honest, my years as a Mountaineer fan have left me quite grizzled when it comes to preseason hype - especially under center. Every time I started to get excited about Grier, I remembered how embarrassingly hapless his Florida team had looked on offense and the name Bobby Sabelhaus would dance through my head (google him kids).
Guys, Will Grier had 125 yards, a 93.73 QB rating, and an interception against Kentucky. Relax on the expectations of 1st year quarterbacks— Dan Thompson (@DK_Thompson) September 4, 2016
You lurked in my dreams random dude from Florida.
Then the last 7 quarters of football happened.
The kid has looked amazing and can throw a ball the likes of which we haven’t seen since Geno Smith. Back shoulder fade? Check. Quick slant? Check. Deep post? Check. It’s like he’s spent the last two games running down a checklist of throws you want your signal caller to be able to make. Sure he got a lot of help from an ECU secondary that appeared in need of a service animal, but the balls were all exactly where you’d want them to be. It was a perfect half of quarterbacking.
It is said that, in the 13th century, the Pope sent a messenger to the artist Giotto, requesting that he send a drawing to demonstrate his skill. Giotto responded by picking up a brush and painting a simple, perfect red circle. When the messenger provided this image to the Pontiff along with the information that it had been drawn with just Giotto’s hand and without the aid of any compass or other instrument, the Pope was amazed and said this drawing surpassed all others that had been sent.
This half of football was Will Grier’s red circle. We are all amazed.
Dear Big 12 other players: you are all nameless 13th century artists.
“I bet he’d make a helluva safety.”
—- Mack Brown, probably.
WVU's six touchdown drives have all been 2:16 or quicker. Three of those took less than a minute.— Neel Madhavan (@theneel64) September 9, 2017
I was gonna make a “dude barely makes it 2 minutes” joke here, but like I said last week, my mom reads this. I’ve gotta be better than that.
“My goodness, TWO minutes? Is he some sort of tantric master?”
— Rick Pitino, probably.
(I’m totally not better than that)
23-yard punt return the longest since 2014. WVU had 39 TOTAL punt return yards in 2016. McKoy 13-yard run puts WVU up 21-3. Still in 1Q.— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) September 9, 2017
I mean, I don’t even have the emotional intelligence to articulate what this means to me. Last time WVU had a punt return of more than 20 yards my son wasn’t even alive. He can now count to 10. I just......I mean..........this is so...........
I’m so happy. I just love y’all. All of y’all. So much. So much.
Simms has showed three things in his return 1) Explosive return ability 2) Speed 3) Ability to get behind db's. He'll be an asset to this O.— Rasheed Marshall (@RasheedMarshall) September 9, 2017
You had me at “return ability” Sheed. The other 126 characters coulda been “only has 1 leg” or “routinely shoves past the elderly at the grocery store” and I’d have been like “RETURN ABILITY!!”
I’m convinced if you give WVU simply a competent returner, it’s worth a game and a half over the course of the season. And I’m not talking Pacman Jones or even Lance damn Frazier. Just give me a guy who can field a punt and maybe pick up 10-15 yards of field position every 2 or 3 games.
Who wishes Wvu played ECU first and VT this weekend. ♂️— Ken Rhodes (@KenRhodes23) September 9, 2017
Here’s what I’ve told myself so I can sleep at night: as losses go that VT one was about as good as they’re gonna get. It was to a good team, it was with a key guy out and there was clearly some rust that had to be knocked off. Anyone who watched it understood that WVU passed the eye test with flying colors and could have easily won. As long as Tech can keep up their end and put together a good season, I think we can recover.
(so all I have to do is root for Tech. Wonderful. Gonna make a Drano-colada, BRB)
A college football coach just said, "all three sides of the ball." I'm going to need time to wrap my head around that one.— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) September 9, 2017
Did he talk about a guy having “good twitch?” ‘Cause I think I may know who you were listening to.
“Arise and walk, for thou art no longer a piece of coal.” And thus the coal rose, and the coal walked forth into the stadium. And the people were amazed that such had been done.
I liked this a lot. The pregame crew spent some time talking to Skyler about his first experience watching WVU from the stands and it was a fun moment. Turns out Skyler had never experienced Mountaineer football in any way but under center, so it was great that he got to relax for a Saturday and soak up the atmosphere and adulation from some fans. Given how things were a little dicey last year, it’s been cool to see how supportive he’s been of Grier and the entire program. If you listen to him talk you can tell he’s a really good kid and I think he’ll be a great ambassador for Mountaineer Football. And more importantly I think he’ll get to truly enjoy what it is to be a 10 game-winning WVU QB. He clearly worked his butt off, so glad he can soak it in now.
Hope it’s the first of many Skyler.
Will Grier put on a highlight reel, but this was the highlight of my day, former WVU QB Skyler Howard getting heckled mercilessly by fans... pic.twitter.com/aZGBANzxCL— Ryan Stamski (@ryan_stamski2) September 9, 2017
Meanwhile Ryan Stamski is an asshole.
If “heckling” a guy that helped your team go 10-3 and is by all accounts a good and decent young man is your idea of a “highlight”, that says a lot more about you than it does about Skyler and you are missing a lot of joy in life. You seem young, so please take this as an opportunity to step back and re-evaluate. I’m not kidding man. I’m old and please take my word for it - life sucks for jerks. And you can choose not to be one.
Back to the game.
#WVU's 49 points is most points allowed by an East Carolina defense in the first half in the program's history.— Patrick Kotnik (@PatrickKotnik) September 9, 2017
That was for 2008. THAT WAS FOR PAT WHITE!!!
Also I’d like to go on record and say how much I agreed with how Holgorsen handled the game and the half. I liked having the starters go through a normal halftime and come out for a couple final full-speed series in the second half. That was the first home game for those guys and they needed to understand how an actual halftime goes and how to prepare for a second half. Holgorsen talks a lot about routine and getting guys comfortable in situations - especially seemingly mundane things like road trips and halftime - and I agree with him. That stuff matters and keeping them full speed through the third was perfect.
And there’s really not a ton more to say about that game. I loved the run/pass distribution. I love that Justin Crawford only has 28 carries in 2 games yet is averaging 8 yards a carry. I loved Marcus Simms bringing a little speed and eating some reps to keep the receivers fresh. I loved Kyzir White snagging a couple int’s.
(I didn’t love the cornerback play that much)
Not a whole lot to say really. They looked great and insomuch as I look at games like this as hurdles to be cleared as opposed to statements to be made it was all I could have hoped for. No gawdy final score to inflate egos. No significant injuries. Just a nice pedestrian win. And against a program that has often been a bugaboo for teams in WVU’s spot, I’ll take it.
A couple quick things on unrelated topics.
James Franklin: "I know last year beating us for them was like the Super Bowl. This was just like beating Akron for us."— Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) September 9, 2017
First that’s Grade A trash talk and it’s against Pitt so I respect that. I do. But I probably know Franklin a little better than many of you. I was living in Nashville when he was Vanderbilt’s head coach and he did everything he could to get his name in repeated in public. Funny thing though was how bad a relationship he had with a couple of the media outlets - particularly a sports radio show I listened to. Anytime anyone had the temerity to ask him a moderately tough question he would get all pissy and then hold a grudge.
So with that in mind I didn’t care for this. The worst kind of trash talker is the kind who can dish it but can’t take it. That’s Franklin. First to flap his gums when things are good, but the minute it gets tough - the minute he’s faced with the full weight of #VandyMedia - he can’t take it. Remember I said that, because at some point the heat in Happy Valley will get turned up, and James may find that it’s ironically a little hotter up north.
And finally, this week’s installment of #BaylorSchadenfreude
Final: UTSA 17, Baylor 10— John Werner (@JohnWernerTrib) September 10, 2017
It’s a long fall from the top and every branch can’t wait to smack Baylor upside the damn head on the way down. Enjoy the ride, gents.
Let’s enjoy a good solid win and hopefully get ready for another, let’s start to look ahead at what feels more and more like it could be a great 2017 and