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The Good, The Bad, & The Really Ugly of Our Last Big 12 Loss to Oklahoma

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Good:

  1. No more games against Oklahoma - Watching the game last night, it was tough to come up with much to go in this section. The best I could come up with is that we won’t see Oklahoma on a yearly basis starting next year. That should be a relief for Mountaineer fans. Oklahoma leaves the Big 12 with a 10-1 record against WVU, winning by an average score of 44-27.
  2. Stormtrooper uniforms - I really like the new helmets we’ve started wearing this year with the flying WV inside the state outline. I hope these will be a permanent change going forward. As for the full uniform, the all white is a good look for the Mountaineers.

The Bad:

  1. Garrett Greene - Garrett had a rough game last night, some of which was not his fault. He was under pressure pretty much the entire game (more on that in a moment). However, when he did have time, he still did not look comfortable. He overthrew several open receivers throughout the game as well as made some questionable decisions on where to go with the ball. Garrett ended the first half a respectable 8-16 for 141 yards. He finished the game 10/27 for 154 yards, meaning he was 2-11 for 13 yards in the second half.
  2. The offensive line - For a group that was touted by the coaching staff as one of the best in the nation, they’ve struggled mightily for a good amount of the season. Last night, Oklahoma consistently had 4 or 5 players in the backfield on pretty much every play. We got very little push from the line all night, meaning our backs had to run through contact on every play.

The Ugly:

  1. The defense - Coming off a very strong effort against BYU last week, the defense was riding high coming into Norman. It’s fair to say they left Oklahoma with their tails between their legs. They gave up 644 total yards last night (423 passing & 221 rushing) to Oklahoma. Dillon Gabriel looked like a Heisman candidate accounting for a total of 8 touchdowns (5 passing & 3 rushing). We consistently brought only 3 or 4 rushers against Gabriel, getting only two sacks. This meant our suspect secondary had to cover receivers for long periods of time, which did not go well. There were too many plays to count where there were no WVU defenders within 5 yards of an Oklahoma receiver, allowing each completions, as well as big time catch & run opportunities. Time after time, WVU has played its best games when we’ve blitzed the QB, taking pressure off the secondary. Jordan Lesley seems to forget this every so often with devastating results.
  2. Offensive play calling - Our first drive of the game was very efficient, 8 plays for 75 yards & a TD. Our next 5 drives went for 17 plays and a total of 13 yards. Much like Jordan Lesley calling defensive plays, Neal Brown decided to take everything that worked on the first drive and throw it out the window for the better part of the first half. As I’ve said on multiple occasions, he has no feel for the flow of the game. He also doesn’t seem to understand who his playmakers are and how to best use them. Jahiem White had a huge game last week and got a total of 9 touches, many running right into the teeth of the Oklahoma defense. Rodney Gallagher is our other skill player with big play potential. He got one touch, on a jet sweep, which appears to be the only play Neal knows how to call for him. These two players have the chance to break a play for a big game anytime they touch the ball. Somehow Neal hasn’t figured out how to call plays to get these two the ball in space so they can make a play for the offense. Neal also continues to call outside zone runs for CJ Donaldson, who is at his best pounding the ball inside. Garrett Greene is obviously at his best moving the pocket, but seems to be forced to be a drop back passer under Neal, at least until his offensive line breaks down, and he has to run for his life.
  3. Neal Brown - At this point, I’m beyond done with him. I will continue to support the team and be excited when we play well, but he needs to go. I remain hopeful that some team will see him, hopefully, finishing the regular season with 8 wins and scoop him up as their new coach.