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What I Think About West Virginia Punctuating The Climb

The end of the 2019 ends with a win and a much needed boost heading into the offseason.

West Virginia v TCU Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope yours was filled with lots of food, lots of food naps and the enjoyment of a win in the final game of the season.

Neal Brown Needed This

Its amazing how much the narrative of the season can change in the final month. Following a 17-14 loss to the Baylor Bears, the natives were restless. Austin Kendall, the incumbent starter for the West Virginia Mountaineers, struggled and it appeared that the team has wasted a chance to pull off an upset, and then the next week threw two interceptions. Brown said after the Baylor game he had a plan but he tested the patience of the fans when he started Kendall and only played Doege for a quarter.

Brown’s statement after Texas Tech, where he thanked the fans for their support and vowed to win and build a program that they would be proud of, honestly, rang hollow to me. I’m not into platitudes and I’ve seen enough coaches try that “the fans deserve better” and never deliver. Fans do deserve better and they don’t need hollow promises. Brown’s promise turned out to not be hollow. Brown inserted Jarret Doege as the full-time starter against Kansas State and Doege and Brown pulled off two wins, both where the team was on the road and a double-digit underdog. It is much easier to trust the climb when there are even small instances where we aren’t always at the bottom.

QB Competition

A quarterback competition you say? Schuyler isn’t wrong here, Brown is going to say all the right things and say that Doege isn’t the assumed starter and that everyone will be in competition. There is nothing wrong with this. Everyone, at this point, can see that the offense simply functions better with Doege than it did with Kendall. The competition shouldn’t be much and honestly, what happens in the spring will hold little sway when it comes to the fall.

If there is a competition in the fall, then I’m going to be worried. I said in the early part of camp that I thought Brown needed to pick a quarterback and as has been typical this season, because any criticism is met with outright fan backlash on this new coaching staff, certain groups found their way to social media. If there is a competition in the fall, then either Kendall has improved tremendously or Doege has regressed, or both. I would expect Doege to be named the starter within the first weekend.

Look For More Attrition

I do not know if Darius will enter the NFL and in no way am I saying that he is gone, but Brown has already lost a ton of players to attrition and this offseason is going to see more. It is likely that at least one of the quarterbacks in the room, not named Doege, will look elsewhere. Martell Pettaway, a senior who chose to redshirt after four games, may be looking elsewhere. I am sure there are other players who will be looking at new opportunities in 2020.

This is going to put even more stress on a coaching staff to both find players on the recruiting trail (in a class that currently ranks 8th in the Big 12) and on players who do choose to stay. You saw some flashes this season but our depth was challenged. It looks like it will be challenged again next year.

This staff has shown that they can deal with it but it does look like next year will be another year where the staff will need to get creative.

Game of Inches

On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch. Cause we know when we add up all those inches that’s going to make the difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING.

I’ll tell you this in any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch.And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch because that is what LIVING is.The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can’t make you do it.You gotta look at the guy next to you.Look into his eyes.Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it,you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That’s a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team,or we will die as individuals.That’s football guys.That’s all it is.Now, whattaya gonna do?