Remember that play? Remember it happening, oh, two dozen other times on some other part of some other field in some other game?
And then remember this reaction?
That all happened in about 30 seconds of one game, but it serves as quite the nutshell for the 2012 season. That team wasn’t very tough and that has to change. The 2013 season ought to be different and, on the surface, it looks and sounds like Dana Holgorsen is trying with lectures and presentations about the history and tradition of the state and the program, with the junior college additions and with the coaching staff hires.
There were a lot of coaching staff hires and three of the four make very visible sense. There’s a connection between Holgorsen and Brian Mitchell, a connection between WVU and Tony Gibson and connections between Lonnie Galloway and WVU and Dana Holgorsen.
And there’s Ron Cook whose best link to the job is a convenient, though mostly irrelevant period the Parkersburg native spent as a player and assistant in the WVIAC. Now, there was a time when a 304 area code for the house you grew up in and some time in the state as a player or a coach got your resume somewhere.
This is not then, though, and Crook’s resume is especially curious when it comes to his most recent job. He coached the tight ends and offensive tackles at Stanford, which is to WVU’s offense what Sleepytime Tea is to Red Bull. Yet Crook is coaching up quite a cocktail for the offensive like, one that should serve the offense and the team quite nicely.
The single-most important ingredient? Double teams.
“I think it’s just the way we’re playing the double teams now,” presumed starting right tackle Curtis Feigt said. “It’s something new and it puts more aggression in the offense. Before Crook was here, we were strictly inside zone, outside zone and more or less in one-on-one situations. Now we’re doing double-team stuff – two of us against one of them, three of us against two of them. It puts us in a better, more aggressive situation.”
There was nothing wrong with the designs of Crook’s predecessor, Bill Bedenbaugh. He wasn’t fired. He was hired by an Oklahoma team that prefers zone plays and needed someone to do it better than the guy before him.
WVU’s linemen used to block the defenders who crossed their facemasks. If there was an opportunity to double team, the free lineman usually went to the next level to get his hands on a linebacker or a safety. Double teams were somewhat rare and mostly seen when a lineman didn’t have a body at the first or second level and instead chose to blindside a defensive lineman who had his hands full with one of the other Mountaineers.
Crook’s double teams are by design, power plays dependent upon the defensive front that tells which linemen are supposed to link up and take on predetermined opponents.
“Now we’re both engaged on the defensive end, and whichever way he goes, the other guy comes off and he goes up to the next level,” Feigt said.
This clip is pre-Crook, but it’s a clinic and the plays didn’t change after he arrived in Palo Alto. The same can’t be said of his arrival in Morgantown. Trust Crook is bringing some of it to the Mountaineers.