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The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly Of A Homecoming Embarrassment

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 21 Oklahoma State at West Virginia Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Homecoming is a chance for alumni (us old grads as the fight song says) to journey to Morgantown and relive our time in college. It’s a time to remember how much fun we had at Mountaineer Field each Saturday. Sadly, homecoming was spoiled by Mike Gundy spanking Neal Brown like a kid acting up in church.

The Good:

  1. Garrett Greene - Go ahead and let him put an S on his chest, because on this offense, he’s as close as it gets to Superman. Garrett is the heart and soul of this team. It’s unfortunate that his coach chooses to call him out rather than taking responsibility for his own shortcomings. Despite an early interception, Garrett responded well and played another exciting ball game.
  2. Justin Johnson - Little used prior to yesterday’s game (partially due to injury), Johnson came off the bench to provide a nice spark in the running game. He showed good burst through the hole and broke off a couple of nice runs. Hopefully he continues to see more playing time as the season goes on.

The Bad:

  1. CJ Donaldson - Unfortunately, CJ’s name continues to show up in this category week after week. According to the ESPN broadcast, our coaching staff said CJ had his best week of practice all year heading into this game. If your best week of practice equates to 13 carries for 39 yards, with a long of 7, then I think we need to set the bar a little higher.
  2. Our offensive line - What was supposed to be the strength of this team has looked more & more like a liability the last few games. Garrett was running for his life for the better part of the game. The line continued to struggle to open up holes for our running backs. I realize we’re missing one of our starters due to injury, but we’ve continually been told that the depth is there, so there should be no excuse for the play we’ve seen the last two or three games.

The Ugly:

  1. The defense - That was an awful showing from our defense yesterday. We allowed a new record for rushing yards to a visiting running back at Mountaineer Field. I wish I could explain Jordan Lesley’s gameplan going into the last two games, but I have no idea what he’s thinking. Our defense looked good against Pitt, Texas Tech, & TCU because we brought pressure, meaning our suspect secondary didn’t have to play coverage very long. Against Houston & Oklahoma State, we’ve gone back to the defense we saw last year: bring three or four pass rushers and flood the zones with guys in pass coverage. That might work if our guys actually knew how to cover receivers, but, as we saw, they don’t. I’m also not sure what our defense works on in practice, but it’s obviously not tackling. I wasn’t able to find the stats on how many missed tackles we had, but it had to be a ton.
  2. Penalties - Two personal foul penalties on the same play (and three in the game) is just silly. We need to show a lot more discipline than we have the last two weeks if we hope to turn this around.
  3. Turnovers (and what we do with them) - If you listened to or read any of the previews of this game during the week, the major theme that came through was that we had to win the turnover battle to win this game. Oklahoma State was 4-0 when they won the turnover battle & 0-2 when they lost. They’re now 5-0 when they win the turnover battle. We turned the ball over three times yesterday, which led to 17 points for Oklahoma State. On the plus side, we forced two turnovers, which led to zero points for the Mountaineers.
  4. Neal Brown - Like most of you, I started the season with the opinion that he needed to be shown the door. Then, I foolishly bought into the four game winning streak thinking that maybe he’d finally turned the corner. I said I was willing to take the Jim Jones plunge after the TCU game. Unfortunately, the Kool-aid was spiked. After the last two weeks, I’ll paraphrase Dennis Green by saying he is who we thought he was. He stinks as a play caller and has no ability to accept that he’s a big part of the problem. His play calling is so conservative that he makes Brian Ferentz look like an offensive genius. His criticism of Garrett during the post-game press conference last night shows how he cannot accept that he’s the problem. As I said above, Garrett is the only reason our offense is able to put up any points. At this point, I’m beyond the point of no return. He’s got to go. I hope Wren Baker heard it from some upset alumni last night because this has to end.