‘What can Brown do for you?’ is the old play caller’s motto anytime someone named Brown does something good on a football field and that adage holds true with West Virginia Mountaineers running back Leddie Brown. Brown is the only offense the Mountaineers have right now.
Leddie Brown and 10 other guys right now for #WVU— Jake Lantz (SM: WVUNite) (@NiteStare) October 17, 2020
It’s true, the Mountaineers are Leddie Brown and 10 other guys on offense. Brown is their entire offense. It’s not the worse thing in the world since it allows the Mountaineers to control games but it isn’t flashy. It feels weird to say the Mountaineers are controlling the clock with their running game, because we only held the ball for 32 minutes and most of our scoring drives were less than 2 minutes, but in reality that is exactly what Brown and the Mountaineers began to do. They slowed the game down, fed Leddie the ball, and played to their strengths.
On their first four drives, Brown had 3 touches combined. After that, it became the Leddie Brown show. On the next two drives, he had 13 and scored his first touchdown.
Consider this official, Doege is not Will Grier. He never will be. He’s better than Austin Kendall. Doege is the quintessential game manager. We are going to ask him not to lose games. He needs to make tight throws on third down when we need him to. He needs to be able to keep us in front of the chains but other than that, give the ball to Leddie and make the right calls. That is his job in 2020. It’s tough for me, a converted wide receiver/safety to watch a run-first, clock-control offense but that is what we have in 2020. You can win with that offense. Many teams have. It isn’t flashy and it isn’t “fun” but it is efficient and workmanlike.
Doege needs to work on his deep passes but the “explosive” plays Brown talked about for the past two weeks are not in the cards in 2020. And to be honest, we don’t need them to be. We need to be able to stretch the field but we don’t have to throw it 40 yards. A solid 20-yard completion will be enough to back the safeties off. We just have to keep teams from stacking the box against Leddie.
Sam James, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, and Wide Receivers
You look at the box score and see 318 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, 7.2 yards per attempt and wonder why does it feel like we have no passing game? Worse, look at the receivers! 26 catches, 318 yards, ELEVEN people caught a pass. Five of them averaged over 10 yards per reception. Three of them had catches over 20 yards. Yet, if you ask anyone, our passing game was meh. And it was. Sam James, the freshman bright spot in 2019, dropped several passes and finished with one catch. Ali Jennings, a guy who caught 19 passes last year, has two on the season.
Then there is Bryce Ford-Wheaton. Wheaton had 12 catches all of last year. He has 13 this year and 3 touchdowns already. Winston Wright, Jr had 19 catches last year for 97 yards. He has 19 catches this year, but is already over 200 yards. If Sam James and Ali Jennings can find their groove, the receivers will be great. If not, we’re seeing two other young receivers step up.
#1 Total Defense
Now it’s official ... As per the tweet/s I posted last night, here’s the new Top 10 in Total Defense ... pic.twitter.com/0MU9KhLdpm— Jed Drenning (@TheSignalCaller) October 18, 2020
And to be honest, Air Force doesn’t count. They’ve played one game. So West Virginia has a better defense than Clemson Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd (another WV team) and Oklahoma State. The formula is simple, lean on your defense.
Also per Jed, the Mountaineers are both in the top 10 in rush defense (#9 nationally) and pass defense (#3 nationally). They are also 1st in the Big 12 in Yards per Pass Attempt (5.9).
That is great. We’ve also played Eastern Kentucky (FCS), Baylor Bears (9th in Big 12 offense), Kansas Jayhawks (10th in Big 12 offense) and Oklahoma State (7th in Big 12 offense). The big tests will be Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns (#1 and #2 respectively in the conference). If you can slow those teams down, a Big 12 title isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.
Against Eastern Kentucky, the Mountaineers committed 8 penalties. Against Oklahoma State and Baylor they committed 12 each. Against the Jayhawks, they committed 8. 40 penalties through four games is not good. Against Kansas, 6 of the penalties were just stupid errors: false start, roughing the kicking, unsportsmanlike, illegal motions, illegal helmet contact. Holding and pass interference happen and are far too often a judgement call. You could, if you wanted, call those on nearly every play. But the mental mistakes are going to cost us games if they don’t get cleaned up. You screamed about it during the past tenures, scream about it now.