Working on Good and the Bad and Mario Alford is silly fast. On kickoff return TD, covered 40 nonlinear yards in 4.16. pic.twitter.com/zEz6RwKDBQ
— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) September 2, 2014
There is a danger about the first game of the season for people like you and me. The teams have their own pitfalls, but you and I can misstep, too. We’ve waited so long for a game and for new impressions to be cast that we can sometimes force new things.
So I tend to maybe overreact by underreacting, if that makes any sense, and I’m the guy who’s going, “Yeah, nice effort, but the offense scored one touchdown and fell apart on the cusp of others … and you got a kickoff return touchdown. Let’s not book the Sugar Bowl quite yet.”
There’s a reality out there to address, but we have to find it still. That 33-23 score is going to resonate much differently in a few weeks. WVU might have lost to a suspect Alabama or a legit Alabama. Alabama might have gotten the better of an improved WVU or a familiar-looking WVU.
All of that said, I think the above is the moment you can look at and say, “This is going to be different.” You knew WVU wasn’t going away and not only had actually had resources at its disposal, but knew how to use them. And Mario Alford is going to have a big season.
I know, I know, Kevin White had the bigger receiving game, but Alford is was there, too, and he’s going to be a part of the special teams and you have to think he’s going to get the ball in his hands running the ball. He’s stupid fast. Dana Holgorsen and Shannon Dawson are going to accommodate that.
I mean, look at this.
That move at the beginning is something to behold. He pretty much stops dead, and probably didn’t see that guy coming until when it happened. But by the time he runs right and turns the corner at the 20-yard line — solid Jewone Snow block right there — Alford is opened up again. Then he goes from the 20 to the Alabama 40 — that’s 40 yards — in 4.16 seconds, as pictured above. No, it’s not combine style where he starts from a crouch and bursts out of blocks, but it’s not a straight line, either.
Whew. We’re going to get Tavon Austin comparisons, and that’s fine. No one was faster or more dangerous in traffic than Tavon … but Alford is faster from point to point, if you ask me. Nevertheless, WVU has something on the outside opposite White, who, I’m telling you, is wholly different from what he was last season. This is not Austin/Stedman Bailey, but it’s going to be good.
There remains plenty to like about Saturday and going forward, but one thing I’m very interested in seeing is how WVU elevates Alford to pair properly with White and to make the most of his considerable skill. How did we get here? Let’s find out by taking a look at the good and the bad of WVU v. Alabama. Read the rest of this entry »