Hey guys. Sorry this is a week and a day late. I decided that after two straight years of no summer vacations that a late November vacation to Disney sounded great. [Narrator - It was, but it was also exhausting]. So, I listened mostly to the past two weeks games and then caught replays on my re-watches. Sorry that I was unable to give you anything last week or any Big 12 recaps this weeks.
For all the hand wringing and conversations that took place over the past few weeks, it is undeniable that the offense simply looks smoother with Doege running the show. This isn’t a knock on Austin Kendall but the ball comes out faster and crisper from Doege’s hand than it was from Kendall’s. Doege also throws the flares and checkdowns quicker and in better position to his running backs to allow them space to run. Overall, you can say that you at least feel like the quarterback piece is in place for head coach Neal Brown. That is a big first step. Similar to 2013 when Clint Trickett engineered an upset over Oklahoma State, finding that quarterback helps set up the next season but now Brown and his staff have to find a way to find the pieces around Doege.
Replacing Doege had an immediate effect as he helped engineer an upset over Kansas State, when he found Bryce Wheaton just standing wide open. It was a moment that helped collectively heal Mountaineer Nation.
Stand up in they chest no apology, mama sent a text say she prada me.. pic.twitter.com/eiK06hDxNz— Bryce Wheaton (@Brycewheat3) November 17, 2019
Now this week against Oklahoma State, Doege once again made the offense look “normal”. For the first time, we looked competent, we looked like we had maybe a plan on how to attack Oklahoma State and what we wanted to do. It may not have fully worked, but the offense looked functional.
More so, you can see the defense willing to give a bit more effort with Doege in there. The receivers don’t look disinterested and George Campbell looks like an actual player. All of these things can’t be ignored and if you wondered could Doege fix all of the issues on the offensive side, the answer is no, but he certainly helped.
Just a bit of a note, but man do I feel bad for Norwood. His senior season hasn’t gone the way he wanted it to, he is playing on a team going through a coaching change and a rebuild and now he gets hurt on his final play of his career and he doesn’t even get to play on Senior Night? I feel bad for him.
If anyone has earned praise this season, it has to be defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. While the offense has struggled all season, the defense, which we felt would be a strength of this team has been more than that. It has been good and not just Big 12 good but actually good.
The rush defense is holding opponents to under 4 yards per carry and ranks 39th nationally. The scoring defense is holding teams to under 30 points a game for the season and has held 6 teams to 27 points of fewer. A slightly more compentent offense and you’re talking about a very good season.
Luckily, we should get one more season of the Stills brothers playing together. We also get to watch the evolution of Dante, who has become one of the fiercest Mountaineers on the field. His sack at the end of the first half against Oklahoma State really showed everything he is capable of.
The Mountaineers are a team that simply operates on the thinnest of margins. Against Kansas State, the Wildcats made more costly mistakes than the Mountaineers and it allowed the team to find a way to win. The Wildcats committed a penalty on a missed field goal that turned into a touchdown. Kansas State committed several uncharacteristic penalties at the most inopportune time that either extended West Virginia drives or killed their own drives. Those types of errors are the ones that this Mountaineers team needs to have to help it overcome its litany of issues.
Against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the errors weren’t there and while the Mountaineers held a thin lead, they couldn’t sustain that success. Against the NC State Wolfpack, the Mountaineers overwhelmed the ‘Pack, and helped build a lead that NC State couldn’t overcome. Against the Cowboys, WVU couldn’t operate in the second half and it eventually allowed Oklahoma State to run no huddle and pick up steam. This team is going to have to find a way to stop operating on such thin margins. One way to do that would be to run the ball....
I know most people were fawning all over themselves when Brown kneeled on an extraneous extra point against the Wolfpack because he wanted to preserve a three-score margin. I thought it was a bit over the top, especially since there hadn’t been any indication that was necessary, but so it happened and it showed that Brown was at least paying attention to those small things that can turn a game.
The past three weeks though, time management has not been a strong suit of Brown’s. There was the Baylor issue, then there were timeout issues against Kansas State and now, against Oklahoma State. Brown took back to back timeouts against OSU when he should have had his personnel ready. He didn’t seem to have decided if he was going for it on fourth down and if you were, you had to know that you were going to need certain players. In his post game press conferences, he has mentioned that its ultimately his fault and he has to pay closer attention. When the previous head coach was here, it was understandable in the earlier part of his tenure because he was learning on the job, but Brown isn’t learning on the job. This is not his first rodeo and he’s been a head coach now for five seasons. These type of issues should not be happening.