Normally, I have a few routines I do when I want to write this column. I try to rewatch the game at some point from a analytical perspective and I try not to read too many other people’s columns first, so I don’t taint my own thoughts. I haven’t rewatched the game because honestly, I don’t want to. I don’t want to be more depressed after we just changed our clocks so that by 5:30 it’s dark. I’m already sad.
In the overall hierarchy, Mike Gundy has had our number nearly as much as Bob Stoops and Lincoln Riley. The Mountaineers haven’t beaten Gundy since 2014. It is now 7 straight games that we’ve lost to the Cowboys and it continues to be in a variety of ways. We’ve had games where we’ve been dominant and found a way to lose. We’ve had games where we were dominated. At this point, the losses are starting to get into fans heads. This almost isn’t a “they are better than us” thing as much as its a “they always win, we always mess up” thing. Sometimes you can will things into existence and you especially do that when you expect bad things to happen.
Last week I was really excited because it looked like we had a plan. We looked like a team that sat down, watched film, understood what Iowa State was going to do and how we wanted to attack it. Then, in a moment of clarity, we said “Iowa State will counter and if I were them, I would do X to stop us, so let’s bring this guy by, or run a double move when they jump the out route” and we looked efficient, strong, whatever good adjective you want to use to describe us, we looked good. This week, we basically looked like a team that didn’t have a clue again. Neal Brown said after the game that Oklahoma State was just stronger than we were and I get it, but that’s also damning. Are fans supposed to just sit here and say “can’t beat this team because they are just stronger?”.
My biggest frustration lies in the fact that there seemed to be nearly no adjustments. We kept doing the same thing. Let’s throw it sideways. Nope. Try to throw it deep. Nope. Ok, I guess throw it sideways again. Again nope. Throw deep? Nope. I’ll be honest, by the second series, I kinda knew this was going to be a long day. The quarterback overthrew receivers and was not making the same throws he made last week. He got sacked and hit early. We couldn’t run the ball. The few times we actually had a guy in space, Oklahoma State made plays. I want to also highlight that because early in the game we did put guys in one-on-one and Oklahoma State won them nearly every time. There was one play where Sam James only needed to beat one guy and he’d be gone and instead he was tackled for a one-yard gain.
Last week, I was all aboard the Doege train and said that we shouldn’t see Greene anymore. A week later, I’m not sure who I want to play quarterback. Let’s be honest, Jarret Doege has the tolls and skills to be a good quarterback. He showed against Iowa State he has the ability to diagnose cover and make good throws, but what West Virginia fans haven’t seen is consistent good play and the ability to overcome poor play. Doege is absolutely a top tier quarterback when he is given time to make throws and the opponent doesn’t blitz. If that is the caveat that is needed, how many players get that? More importantly, how many quarterbacks can you say that about?
Every quarterback looks better when they aren’t hit. Football is a hard sport but there are some truths that are universal and the one about hitting the quarterback has been true for decades. There is a great Mike Tyson quote “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth”. That is kinda my feelings on Doege. He is great until he gets hit and then there is no second plan. This has been a consistent problem since the bowl game last year. Since being pulled against Army, pressure spooks Jarret. He starts lowering his eyes and watching the pass rush or just having no feel of the pass rush. Its a problem but unfortunately it seems that we don’t have an answer because we don’t have a quarterback we trust.
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what you do from here. Doege when he is on, is good. When he isn’t on, he is bad and we need to play someone else but the problem is, who do we play? The coaches are clearly down on Greene because he doesn’t pass the way they want him to pass. As far as I can tell, the coaches are mad that Greene is not throwing the ball on RPO and that’s the genesis of the “he makes the wrong reads”. If that is the case, don’t call RPO but give him defined runs and passes because watching two more weeks of this is goign to kill me. I would have put Greene in for the entire fourth quarter. I mean why not? Doege wasn’t working. Heck, maybe you just ask for a running clock since we were resigned that they were just bigger, faster, stronger.
Last Three Games
Ultimately, I said on Twitter that I was unsure how I felt. I wasn’t angry since I thought this would be the result and we already stole a game that we needed to get to bowl eligibility. I had no belief we would go 6-0. The true reality is that Oklahoma State was a really bad matchup for us this year. That doesn’t excuse the result or the effort but it does at least explain it. Now, there are three games left - Kansas State, Texas and Kansas. Kansas State now has a three game winning streak (albeit Texas Tech, TCU and Kansas). Iowa State took its frustrations out on Texas, holding them to 7 points. Kansas is Kansas. You need to win two of those games. None of those teams have a senior laden group of defensive players who should make our lives miserable.
Oklahoma State is 9th in the country in sack percentage. Kansas State is 56th. Texas is 107th. Kansas is Kansas. Kansas State is 128th (out of 130 teams) in opponent completion percentage (so 2nd to worst in the country). Texas is 120th. Kansas is Kansas (130th). There is a silver lining coming. I would burn this tape, figure out how to make some adjustments and get back to work. You need to win two and one of those is Kansas. One of your next two gets you to a bowl game. Show up.