Welcome to the Friday Feedback, which will find a way to do this more regularly now. Promise. I’ve no other choice. The mantra is tattooed om the left side of my brain. It’s everywhere, though it started in the 1997-98 season when Bob Huggins gave his team a motto and the team rallied around it and finished 27-6 before it was banked out of the NCAA Tournament by Jarrod West.
The motto was the team’s everything. A custodian found a sign in the wood shop and Huggins hung it above the locker room door. The Bearcats would tap the sign whenever they left the locker room for a game and later decided to bring it to road games.
Advance to Wednesday, when Huggins got a text message from Joe Roberts, the team manager when Huggins was with the Bearcats. He reminded Huggins of that 1997-98 motto and Huggins shared it with his team and, boy, did it make an impression.
“Our motto coming into this game was ‘Find a Way,’ ” said Kevin Noreen, who started for the second time this season and had 13 rebounds and an enormous 3-pointer late after his team started 0-for-14 from 3-point range. “Coach Huggins gave it to us straight in his pregame speech. Just find a way. That’s what we did.”
The message Roberts texted Huggins and the message Huggins shared with the Mountaineers? Find a Way. And then Huggins took to Twitter last night with this bit of brilliance.
So clearly this is your Do What You Do v. 1.2 and it’s going to get spun around like Jimmy Johns and rear view mirrors and I’m OK with that. The team needed a base to build from and, who knows, maybe that was it. That was a pretty good win Wednesday night.
And given that this is West Virginia and the state and its prep teams love the university and how they tend to mimic what the Mountaineers do, be it a 1-3-1 zone or read-option offenses, I knew it was going to catch on pretty fast.
But not this fast. This was from a Winfield High win last night!
“We have a sign on our door as you go out the door in the locker room that says ‘Find A Way,’” McGinnis said, “and I told them we just haven’t been finding a way to win. We’ve been close, but we just have not found a way. Tonight, we found a way.”
Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted. In other words, police yourself.
I will watch a team that tries hard, win or lose.
The biggest development for me was Aaric playing like he wanted to win. If Huggs can get his head right on a consistent basis, he could be very good, imho.
Best comment on the game string last night…..is Jabarie on bath salts? That killed me for some reason.
Really, you could tell from the start that the Mountaineers possessed great verve. They couldn’t score, but they wanted to score and wanted to win like I hadn’t witnessed this season. And I thought Murray sauntered onto the floor with an edge, too. Not sure he if liked coming off the bench or not, but he did not play like a bench guy and I’d have to imagine that was his intent. As for Hinds, he tries. He was seemingly unaware of his struggles, and while that can be a bad thing, it can be of some service, too.
WV never seemed to get an easy shot all night. In previous games they got some easy shots and missed them anyway. I am not convinced this team turned a corner. The offense has no flow, they can’t shoot, and they make too many mistakes due to youth. They just happened to play a team that has the same problems only worse.
Well, Texas plays very good defense. I’m not sure it’s the best defensive team in the country, but it leads the NCAA in field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage defense. And that was a big, long team that made “easy” shots — if there are such things with WVU — tough shots. But I can definitely see the concern. WVU was what it has been and, again, those two teams were a lot alike going in. WVU was better able to manage its flaws.
If this team turned some sort of corner by beating a horrible Texas team, while shooting absurdly bad, benching its starting PG for the second half, continuing to make terrible plays on offense and defense, and royally screwing up on the last play of regulation…….then there are major problems. Either that, or Huggins is a genious. You think about that…….
I have and it’s a scary thought. I guess we won’t know until around 3:30 p.m. tomorrow — or, hell, 1:30 — but the issue is WVU didn’t really do anything well except not quit and visibly wear down a team that behaves a lot like WVU — which has given up big leads a few times this season. I’m not suggesting it was a fix. I just wonder if people, be they inside or outside, are going to buy in on this being a beginning.
As someone who believes it was actually good fortune against an unfortunate team, does it even matter what it ACTUALLY was? If the team BELIEVES it was a step in the right direction, isn’t that what it becomes? We have a coach who (despite having more wins than any other coach in the conference) is so superstitious that he changes clothes at halftime. Have we all forgotten Gansey’s bagel (not a euphemism, an actual bagel)? To a 20 year old kid (and apparently a HOF coach), correlation is ALWAYS causation. In these kids’ minds, if they hustle for rebounds and hang in there on defense, they’re not out of it and can perhaps pull off a win. I’m just glad that correlation was made last night. Shooting will come and go, the constant with Huggins’s teams has been that their hustle and defense can SOMETIMES be enough to overcome the off nights. Virginia Tech was an example of that, but Duquesne and Oklahoma were deflating. Before this game it sounded like we all had questions. Regardless of what fans think (or what the facts will later support) I’m encouraged that the team seems to now, in their minds, have answers.
I think this is the preeminent point to be made out of all of this. WVU hasn’t had a lot of hope, inspiration, belief, whatever you want to call it this season. First game was a 34-point loss. Hard to get up after that. Third game was a loss to a tactical, though nondescript Davidson (now 8-6), and that seemed to cement a certain reality. What was the high, before Wednesday? Probably the Virginia Tech game. What followed? The terrible loss to Duquesne (now 7-8, 1-4 since beating WVU). Kansas State ain’t Duquesne.
Part of WV’s problem is, we have to learn how each of the Big 12 teams play. They are new to us. The Big 12 schools only have to learn how WV plays. Also, we have better players on the bench than is on the floor. Rutledge, Miles, Henderson and Harris should play more. Not to mention a name but, when he is on the floor, WVU struggles. We also need shooting practice, and I mean a lot of it.
Well, WVU was plus-9 with A Name on the floor in the final 14 minutes of the game. Rutledge has a minutes ceiling, and part of that is his foul trouble, which comes from court inexperience. Henderson and Harris are seeing their minutes go up. Miles is the one that’s trending down right now. His confidence, or lack thereof, could be forgiven last year. I wonder if that’s not longer acceptable. He hasn’t made much of a positive impact at a time Huggins was looking for impressions.
Has Gerun played too much this season to redshirt? It seems to me if he can still be redshirted it would help balance the classes a bit more. That would put him in the same class with Henderson and Harris. Otherwise, he’s in that huge cornucopia of sophomores.
He’s a freshman, as are Harris and Henderson. And he can’t redshirt.
As to why we didn’t know the names of other coaching candidates versus knowing the names of the two men hired, maybe it is because they, in fact, have been hired.
You think about that.
My favorite part of the week! I really try not to be cryptic and I wasn’t being cryptic throughout all of this. I do try to tell you everything that I know. Sometimes I just don’t know.
Just for funsies:
(Mike’s prediction on over/under for minutes played | actual )
Deniz: 17 | 24
Murray: 23 | 26
Nique: 5 | 9
Sweat: 36 | 31
Miles: 17 | 5
Pretty good. Especially considering the foul trouble.
Consider OT, too.
Is there any particular reason Oliver Luck doesn’t insist upon scouring the Division 2 ranks for their best defensive coaches, then offering them the opportunity to prove themselves here on cheaper contracts than what we’re currently offering, with the promise of longer term contracts if they work out? What’s with the retreads?
Well, you’re forgetting Shannon Dawson and Erik Slaughter both came from Division I-AA. But take salaries out of the equation. That no longer matters, to be frank. It’s then qualifications and Tony Gibson would be more qualified to do the job he’ll be hired to do than a Division II or I-AA assistant. That said, I do believe Holgorsen traveled that route in this search/these searches. And I don’t believe Luck has much involvement other than being the boss and confidant.
Jeff in Akron said:
From a recruiting standpoint both coaches seem to be an upgrade, Gibson for Western Pa. and Mitchell for Texas. If memory serves Gibson did a good job in his last stint in Morgantown as a recruiter.
With that said, gotta believe Holgorsen didn’t do himself any favors in the court of public opinion. I don’t respect Gibson for the way he left, along with the rest of the Products cronies. Still, I’ll try and take a wait and see approach, no promises.
Of all the coaches out there, Holgorsen brings back one of P-Rods. I have to wonder if there isn’t some drama queen in our head coach.
Here’s the litmus test for Dana’s appetite for drama: Does he hire JaJuan Seider as QB coach?
Upon initial glance, these hires seem to lack imagination. Coming off a historically bad year on the defensive side, the changes being made are tantamount to changing a flat on a totaled car.
Vivid, yet acceptable. I think there’s something to be said about getting along with, or knowing, the people on your staff. Look around college football. It’s like that everywhere.
Phil M. said:
I know recruittting is paramount and time is of the essence but why rush the hiring of these two coaches. What’s another week if it means getting the right person for the position.
Not to speak for Dana, but I’m pretty sure Gibson was on the line for a while and I suspect that Mitchell was an above acceptable option when he became available after the other plan came apart.
The whole will be greater than the sum of its’ parts, I hope.
I also hope people didn’t think one name was going to fix a very bad defense. It takes more than two hires and some rearranging. In short, it takes the sum. Good on you.
Fall? Who’s waiting for the fall?
Enjoy the weekend!