The West Virginia Mountaineers, fresh off their Black Diamond trophy victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies, head to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Big 12 bullies, the Oklahoma Sooners. This will be the second consecutive game the Mountaineers have played in Norman, since the 2020 contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It may, also be the last time the Mountaineers play the Sooners as a member of the Big 12, with Oklahoma and the Texas Longhorns formally accepting invitations to the SEC. A timeline hasn’t been announced, but the sands in the hourglass are flowing. Here are some things I want from this Saturday’s game.
Garret Greene to Throw the Ball
I was happy that Greene was in the game last week. I was not happy that he only had 6 plays and didn’t enter the game in the second half until the final drive. All of Greene’s plays appeared to be designed runs. Let’s take the training wheels off and see what Greene can do. How in the world are we ever going to know if we always call the same two plays? Neal Brown has said Doege and Greene are two very different quarterbacks, stating “There’s very little crossover with these two, and that’s good and bad,”. Well, we all know what Doege is capable of and when he is good, he is good - I don’t want to discredit that Doege can win games for the Mountaineers. However, when Jarret is bad, his lows do put the team in holes. A bad interception against Maryland and a truly, terrible, horrific, awful, can’t-throw, no-good interception against VT nearly cost us the Black Diamond Trophy. I want to see if Greene can pass. This may not all fall of Brown and Gerad Parker but let’s leave Greene in for a full series and see what we can do on 3rd and 10.
West Virginia has not generated a defensive turnover all season. I’m not really counting the LIU turnover since that was more of a mishandled snap than an actual generated turnover. Against Maryland and Virginia Tech, the Mountaineers generated Z-E-R-O turnovers while giving the ball away six times. Minus-6 in the turnover department will not win games. This defense is number one in the redzone and I want to see them become a defensive unit that keeps teams from even reaching the redzone. The defensive line of this team came up strong against the Hokies, sacking the Hokies quarterback Braxton Burmeister six times. Generating six sacks surely should lead to a turnover at some point.
The Mountaineers have allowed the Sooners to score at least 50 points in five straight games, 40 points in seven straight games and many of those games, we haven’t looked like we belonged in the same league as Oklahoma. We went toe-to-toe with the Sooners in 2018 but 2017, we were outmatched. 2016, we were completely outclassed, etc. 2014, when we lost 45-33 is perhaps the last time (since 2018) that it felt like we were on the same level as Oklahoma and even that game, we gave them our best shot and they were just better than us. I’d like to see us look like we belong in this game. To borrow a phrase from a friend, “I don’t want a reason to change the channel before halftime”.