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What I Think After Another Mediocre Offensive Showing

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Three years in and things don’t look much different than they have in the past

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 West Virginia at Maryland Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

About the only way yesterday could have gone worse for Neal Brown and the West Virginia Mountaineers would have been a replay of their 2013 game when they were shutout 37-0. Other than that, the lackluster offense displayed in the game was going to upset a lot of fans. And it absolutely has upset y’all.

Doege Doesn’t Inspire Confidence

Let’s just jump in feet first into the deep end. Jarret Doege is not a bad quarterback. However, he is also not a great quarterback. Yesterday, Doege was....okay? That isn’t cutting it anymore. WVU cannot afford to have a quarterback who is just “....okay?” When the game was essentially on the line and we were down 9 points (30-21), I told the Maryland fan I was sitting next to that he didn’t need to be worried because it would take us 4 minutes to get down the field. We still cannot traverse the field in chunks. We have to hit multiple plays and take 12 plays to get down the field. That is not inspiring when we you need two scores.

As much as I can remember we had one chunk passing play all game, a deep throw to Sam James. Other than that, every throw is a slant or our or wheel route or dumpoff. Everything is near the line of scrimmage. If I am scheming against West Virginia, it’s the same thing I’ve said before, I’m going to put all 11 people within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and dare WVU to beat me deep. I’ll take my chances.

Disappearing Leddie Brown

The Mountaineers finished with 61 offensive snaps. 40 were passes. 21 were “runs”. Technically 17 were runs and 4 were sacks. So 44 were passes and 17/18 (Doege did pull one down and trip over his own two feet for two yards) were designed runs. Leddie Brown had 17 runs and 4 catches. To be fair, there were a couple drops/bad throws so Leddie’s touches could have been higher but that will happen every game. For Leddie Brown to have 34% of the offensive touches and to finish with only 17 carries is repugnant.

Leddie had 3 of 7 on the first drive and we scored a touchdown. Leddie had 1 of 1 on our second touchdown drive. Leddie had 4 of 7 on our third touchdown drive. On the three touchdowns, Leddie had 7 of 15 touches. On the remaining 9 offensive series (not counting the end of half), he had 14 of 46.

In the second half, a half that the Mountaineers were leading for 21 minutes and were only down 2 points with a chance to take the lead with 8 minutes left, Leddie had 7 touches. 7. S-E-V-E-N. Is there any reason, when you are leading in the second half, you aren’t trying to shorten the game with your best offensive player?

Winston Wright

It’s about time we had an offensive weapon on kickoff. Wright finished with 188 yards on kickoff returns and nearly housed one. Several other times he looked like he was going to break one, including his last one that he returned for 44 yards and stepped out of bounds. Wright led all receivers with 6 catches but he finished second to last on the team in receiving yards and had a costly fumble. The simple miscues around this team continue to derail any positive momentum there may be.

Defense

My biggest concern this offseason was not Jarret Doege and the offense. It was a regression to the mean of the defense. The defense lost players. We might still have players but we don’t have a top 20 defense that we can lean on.

Maryland ran the ball more than the threw.

Maryland finished 4 yards short of 500 yards of offense.

Maryland had 22 first downs, despite going 8-for-20 in third down attempts.

Maryland had zero turnovers.

Brown admitted in his post-game press conference the defense got gassed as Maryland ran tempo and just continued to run plays. That isn’t going to get better as you play in the Big 12. All of the teams run tempo. All of the teams stress a defense. This can’t be a continuing theme.

Neal Brown

This is year three. Neal got a pass in 2019 as it was a Year Zero. He came in late, had to keep a recruiting class together and change the scheme of the school. Then 2020 hit and it was a pandemic-crisis year. This year however is year three at the school. Whether or not its really 1.5, 2, 0.5 the fact is that he has been here three years. We can’t continue to be unprepared, undisciplined and out-coached.

There are plenty of coaches who are good recruiters who end up failing at schools. Its an old college trope of this guy can bring in talent but this guy can coach them up. It takes someone special to do both. Neal is bringing in talent but so far, the results on the field aren’t proving it. This is a pivotal year for Neal in my mind. In a best case scenario I thought the team would be a 7-5/8-4 team. In a worst case scenario I thought the team might finish 5-7. I don’t think any of you will be happy with 5-7.

Garret Greene

Consider me on the start Green next week train. I’ve seen enough of Doege to know he’s not going to win us games in the Big 12. He might not always lose us games, because I don’t think he’ll throw costly turnovers weekly, but he’s not going to win us games. Let me see what Greene can do against LIU and then Virginia Tech. It’s time. The clamor for him is only going to get louder each week that Doege starts and each time he makes a bad throw / bad decision / costly turnover.

Most of y’all have never seen the guy who was ready to quit being a fan in 2009 when Stew was a coach. I pray that doesn’t happen but I can tell you that by the time we hired Dana in 2010 to be the HCIW, I was ready to jump off a bridge because of Stew and Mullen. We are closely getting there behind Neal. He’s a better coach than Stew and he doesn’t have the expectation of winning a weakened Big East on him with the greatest Mountaineer QB ever but we can’t keep being this mediocre. We just can’t.