1. JT Daniels – This guy is absolutely as advertised. He’s cool, calm, & collected in the pocket. He can make every throw, and he really had it going for much of the game last night. His opening TD to Sam James was a thing of beauty. His leadership, both on the field, and in the interview room, has been awesome to watch. I’m afraid to say, he’s probably rethinking his decision to transfer to WVU, so we should enjoy what he’s doing for us this season.
2. Bryce Ford-Wheaton – He has become the receiver we knew he had the potential to become when he came to Morgantown. With a competent QB throwing to him, he’s become the receiver that the defense must roll coverage towards. This should open things up for Sam James & the rest of the receivers.
1. Undisciplined penalties – We heard year after year that Dana Holgorsen’s teams were undisciplined & took too many penalties, especially at inopportune times. This lack of discipline was one of the biggest knocks against Dana. That has most definitely improved in 3+ years under Neal Brown. Through two games this season, WVU has had 19 accepted penalties against them for a total of 137 yards against. That puts us at #112 in the nation in total penalties. That’s likely two scores (field goals at a minimum) that have been wiped off the board because of penalties. No penalty was more egregious than Tahj Alston’s roughing the passer in overtime last night. On a 3rd & 5 play, WVU stopped a Kansas pass for a loss that would have put them in iffy field goal range. Unfortunately, Tahj took a shot at Jalon Daniels two to three steps after the ball was released. Instead of a 45+ yard field goal attempt, Kansas had 1st & 10 at the 10 yard line.
2. WVU’s bowl chances – At the beginning of the season, I felt like WVU needed to be 3-1 after the first 4 games to have a legitimate chance at a bowl game. At 0-2, we’ve dug ourselves a deep hole. With a likely win against Towson (I know we all said this last week too), and a game against a struggling Virginia Tech team after that, there is still a possibility to hit the meat of the conference schedule at 2-2. However, I’m not sure I see 4 more wins on the schedule. Texas took the number one team in the country to the wire. Baylor, Oklahoma, & Oklahoma State can definitely put points on the board. Texas Tech, TCU, & Kansas State, & Iowa State are toss-ups, at best. Unless we turn things around in a hurry, we’re likely looking at a winter without a bowl game.
1. The Defense – Through 2 games, WVU’s defense has given up 803 total yards to the opposition. That currently ranks us 94th in the nation in total defense. If we’ve given up that kind of yardage to a Pitt team that likes to play ball control offense rather than quick strikes and a rebuilding Kansas team, imagine what Mike Gundy’s offense will do to us. This defense is Joe Deforest level bad. Our front 4 were unable to put any pressure on Jalon Daniels (we had zero sacks & 1 QB hurry). The linebackers were unable to maintain containment whenever he got outside the pocket. Our secondary looked lost trying to cover Kansas’ backs & receivers. We were told this was the most athletic defense we’d ever seen in Morgantown. That proclamation ranks right next to Jarret Doege being the most improved player in camp last fall. Neal Brown’s assessment of players is definitely in question.
2. Trusting the climb – This is the first time since 1979 that WVU has started a season 0-2. For those that haven’t looked that far back into WVU’s history, that season did not turn out well for WVU, or it’s head coach, Frank Cignetti. That team finished 5-6 and cost Cignetti his job. At this point, I think Neal Brown has used up any good will he had left with the fan base. We have hit rock bottom with a home loss to Kansas. At this point, we are the bottom of the Big 12. I don’t know any team left in conference play that we can feel is a sure thing. I’m sure we can steal a game or two, but we can count on being near the bottom of the Big 12 at the end of the year. Unfortunately, due to Brown’s recent extension, firing him at this point is unlikely. It will cost approximately $25 million to buy out Brown & his staff. That, on top of salaries for a new staff, likely mean Neal will be our coach next season too. Unless Ken Kendrick and the rest of the alumni throw a lot of money in the pot, we will still be climbing with Neal next year too.