This Speaks Poorly About Neal
Unfortunately, a game like this where the errors, omissions, and penalties compound to cost the team a win against a team they were statistically better than falls on the head coach. Worst, this coaching staff and team had two weeks to prepare. The running game was better (more on that in a minute) but the passing game looked ill-prepared. We really only had one play that seemed to work (the slant) but that play invited several miscues and could only move the ball when a receiver sliced between defenders. The offense looked like it was surprised that plays didn’t work and had no clue how to make adjustments. With an extra week to prepare, you would like to see new formations and new plays. You’d like to see a gameplan that is executed well. I didn’t see anything new or anything that suggested the coaches did what Neal said they were working towards “being fully read for Oklahoma State”. Neal said they planned and prepped as if Oklahoma State was their week one, making everyone be physically ready for that game. We weren’t.
Leddie Brown is Good, but this O-Line....
I am prepared to go all-in on running back Leddie Brown who now has back-to-back 100 games. It took 26 carries but he finished with 4 yards per carry. The team finished with 1.6 YPC because of kneel downs and Jarret Doege sacks but Brown proved he could make the difficult cuts and decisions behind the line. Brown is good, but let’s do talk about the offensive line. One of Brown’s bigger runs required him to make a cut behind the line of scrimmage because once again the offensive line let people through untouched and allowed the back to be hit or offset behind the line of scrimmage. (sigh). Jarret Doege was sacked for 38 yards. The Oklahoma State Cowboys might have the best defense in the Big 12 but that can’t be the reason the line looked so overwhelmed.
Where is Everybody?
This season really doesn’t count. Everyone gets a free pass. I know we’re trying to win but the redshirt rule is out the window, so shouldn’t we be working in guys more, not less? Reese Smith had one catch. Sam Brown was no where to be found. Neither was Sean Martin or a host of other players. You would think that given that nothing counts this season, that we should be at least having these players available and possibly in the rotation. We should be using this season to our advantage as much as possible.
The Defense Was Not Up To Par
That feels weird to say for a team that allowed only one score in the second half and forced an interception to go along with 3 punts in five second half possessions. The defense was rested in the second half. They were on the field for 14 plays before the game-sealing touchdown drive by OSU. The Mountaineers had just scored and were looking to get the ball back and instead the Cowboys went on a 15-play, back breaking drive when they desperately needed to get off the field.
Doege and Greene
This happens a lot of the time. I’ve seen it nearly any time a quarterback struggles and there is a talented backup behind him. As a Giants fan, for the past 5 years all the fans have been saying is that the offensive line is bad so we need a quarterback with more mobility, despite the fact that the Giants had a two-time Super Bowl MVP behind center, a guy who was a top 10 quarterback in the NFL history. Fans all over the internet wondered loudly, why didn’t Greene come in when Doege struggled. Greene’s ability to scramble and move would be a good counter to a pass rush and leaky o-line. I’d like to see Greene in the game to get him some reps but quarterback is the one position you have to be careful. No one really notices if you have a WR competition, or a TE competition but everyone knows if you have a quarterback competition. It is a different position and will and must be treated differently. Doege is still our man and you can’t turn your back on him, yet. He’s immensely better than Austin Kendal but he isn’t Will Grier or Geno Smith. He isn’t that top level and I think most of you knew that.
I’m Tired of Losing to Okie Lite
This is at least the third year of the last 6 (dating back to 2015) that the Mountaineers have given away a game to Oklahoma State where I did not come out of the loss thinking the Mountaineers were the lesser team. The ‘Eers gave away a game to the Cowboys in 2015 in overtime, they inexcusably gave a way the game in 2018 and now they gave away this game. The 2015 game could have helped morale before the losing streak got massive. In 2018, the loss was the reason why the Mountaineers didn’t play in the Big 12 Championship. What will this loss mean? Will it be a tide turning game or just a bump in the road?