Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

WVU v. Oklahoma State: What’s yours is mine

Saturday, October 25, 2014

This is a bit dated, but I still find it interesting because even now it seems to run counter to what we think is the common way of doing business these days.

Mike Gundy has had a handful of offensive coordinators the past few years who haven’t stayed long because they’ve been successful and poached for head coaching jobs. Larry Fedora went to Southern Miss, Dana Holgorsen went to WVU and Todd Monken went to Southern Miss two years after Fedora went to North Carolina.

The Monken-Fedora thing is kind of interesting for the the purpose of this exercise. Fedora was the Golden Eagles coach from 2008-11 and his replacement, Ellis Johnson, was a disaster in 2012 and didn’t get a second season. Southern Miss sort of remembered how much fun Fedora was and hired Monken, trusting many of the veteran offensive players could quickly right themselves when Monken re-introduced Fedora’s stylings. (Johnson was 0-12 and Monken was 1-11 last season, so…)

Gundy gave the offense to Gunter Brewer and co-coordinator Trooper Taylor (!) in 2008 and then Brewer in 2009 when Taylor went to Auburn. Things weren’t going well and Gundy wanted to modernize his offense. He knew about what was happening at Houstson — it was impossible to ignore it — and called upon Holgorsen.

The 2010 season was wildly successful, of course, and Oliver Luck was no less naive than Gundy and hired Holgorsen to be WVU’s coach. Gundy then hired Monken from the NFL.  He stayed two years. Gundy then hired Mike Yurcich from Shippensburg University. This is his second season.

That’s odd, right? A line of renowned coordinators and then two outliers?

But the Cowboys kept on ticking, even with the changing of the guard at the top of the offense. The success was the same because the offense was the same, even as the coordinators kept changing.

And going back to the top, that grabbed my attention.

We have approximately 35, 45 players or so that have played for our offense each year, each season, and when we’ve lost a coordinator to become a head coach, I felt like it was an advantage to continue to run the offense and keep our terminology.  So we would bring in one new coach or two new coaches, and they would learn our system instead of 35 or 40 players trying to learn a new terminology or a new system from the outside.

For that reason, we’ve had success.  So we don’t see any reason to change.  Our players have also been recruited there, and we told them that this was the offense we were going to run.  We would be up tempo.  We would throw the ball.  We’d run play action.  We’d run the football.  We want to be consistent in our recruiting. 

So the players that are currently on our team will continue to recruit.  They’ve always been the best for us, and I know that’s somewhat broad, but those are reasons for staying with the system.  It’s difficult to bring a young man in that’s made a commitment to our program for certain reasons, and then a couple years later things change.  It can certainly affect him.  So we try to stay as consistent as possible in that area. 

Think about that for a second. Think about how much ink we gave Lane Kiffin before the opener. Think about how many times a guy is hired to run an offense or a defense because of his particular scheme. Gundy didn’t and doesn’t hire offensive coordinators for what they do. He hires them to continue doing what he does, and the logic is perfectly acceptable. The exception to this practice is also the pioneer and likely drinking a can of Red Bull right now.

Full disclosure: I knew the answer to that question. Sometimes you need an answer to a question. And the answer was this: What you’ll see on offense today is what Dana Holgorsen delivered to the Big 12 in 2010. The Cowboys acquired it in 2010 and have kept it since. WVU coveted it and secured it a year later.

Who will pay today?


If they’re even, they’re leavin’

Friday, October 24, 2014

I’m off to Oklahoma City today for tomorrow’s game in Stillwater, where it’s going to he hot. I feel like I let you down by not doing another weather-on-the-road feature, but I do have some intel and something up my sleeve for Monday. It’s actually pretty clever, but useless to use if the road team doesn’t prosper on the road.

Anyhow, Mr. Chestnut will not be in attendance, and WVU will probably travel with junior college transfer Keishawn Richardson for the first time. He hasn’t played all season, but such is the situation at cornerback. Daryl Worley has given indications he’s good to go, which is good news for the secondary. (No legitimate word on Rushel Shell. I’ve heard yay and nay, which means “Ask me Saturday.”)

Get ready for something of an oddity at Boone Pickens Stadium, though. College football has evolved into spread sets, short throws, quick releases and athletes in space. WVU and Oklahoma State do that, but both throw it deep like few others in the game today.

“We worked on throwing the ball vertically more than I ever have in my life because of what we believe is a great running back room and an extremely physical offensive line,” Dawson said. “We figure that teams are going to have to man up at some point to stop the run, so we have to be able to throw it vertical.

“And we’ve worked on it. That was our biggest emphasis in the offseason, and obviously we’re way better throwing and catching it.”

It remains a part of WVU’s practices during the season. Most days start with a drill where cornerbacks are set at different depths and with varying leverage and the quarterback and receiver are in charge of completing a deep pass.

“We haven’t worked on a lot of the back-shoulder stuff because our guys are getting by them,” Trickett said. “If they’re even, they’re leaving, and I have to go for the home run shot. If guys are winning on the edge, I’ve got to put it out there. It’s always about letting them make a play, don’t throw it out of bounds, don’t throw it short. I’ve always got to give them a chance to make a play.”

Daxx Garman’s deep throw is a pretty one, and I’m guessing it gets a lot of P.T. Saturday. I’m not sure he’ll be throwing them to Jhajuan Seales, but there are many options available to the team’s second QB this season. Fortunately for WVU, Baylor was “more over-the-top than anybody I’d ever broken down,” defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. That blitz-or-bust strategy might be employed again, though with more disguise and variation, because 1) it worked and 2) OSU’s line is sieve.

Topic today: Best deep ball. I ride with Jeff Blake.

You’ll Never Talk Alone: S3E8

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Join us now or when we begin, but the weekly WVU chat is back at 11 a.m.

Live Blog You’ll Never Talk Alone: S3E8

Wednesday Walkthrough: Oklahoma State

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

So disappointed.

Elijah Wellman cited in Saturday’s mess

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We now know 14 students were among the arrests and citations. Included was the redshirt freshman fullback from Huntington, who was issued a citation for some level of involvement. Wellman’s transgression was disorderly conduct. He was not arrested and wasn’t cited for many of the more serious things to happen that night.

A team official told the Charleston Daily Mail that “any sort of football discipline will be handled internally.”


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Clint Trickett had a trying day Saturday. He was get-him-an-IV sick, slept most of Friday and dragged himself through Saturday’s win against No. 4 Baylor. He lost a fumble on the third play of the game and thew an interception before the first quarter could end. “I was just trying to see how good our defense really was,” he said.

Good enough to throttle Baylor and key the kind of win the program hasn’t seen in many years. Then his mom found him after the game and told him his father Rick, the former WVU and current Florida State offensive line coach, had a heart attack earlier in the day.

Father and son spoke briefly and Clint needed a few minutes to pull himself together, and the kid who actually seems to like talking to the media did not following the game and instead had him mind where it really needed to be.

Assured his father was fine, Clint would talk to and text his dad throughout the day. Upon learning Rick was, not surprisingly, angry he wouldn’t be able to coach that night against Notre Dame, Clint offered up some amazing advice.

“When he said he wanted to coach and he was upset about not coaching, it was just like, ‘Retire. I’m going to be done after this year. Come watch me play in Canada next year,’” Clint said.

Dana Holgorsen: Oklahoma State week

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Not a lot of gray area about the courtship that brought him to Oklahoma State, huh?

The Good and the Bad of WVU v. Baylor

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I feel like this senseless play was sort of significant Saturday. It shouldn’t happen, and Edward Muldrow III should be happy to be in on a play and resist the need to taunt his fallen foe. I get that. I don’t need to tell you that.

But … but West Virginia’s defense needed to have an attitude if West Virginia’s defense was to have a chance. The Mountaineers were critically timid against a bunch of teams last season, but as far as they’re concerned it was nowhere near as apparent and important as it was against Baylor. It was horrible and it left a mark they weren’t going to be able to scrub away until they got over against the Bears.

So the coaches pumped the players up all week and more or less told them to put their toes on the edge and also take a step over that line every now and then. A hard hit on a guy out who’s out of the play, and then a stare downward just to let him know who was there and that he would be there all day, was a little bit of bullying bravado.

WVU had seven personal foul penalties. Seven! And Tony Gibson was mostly OK with that because he was willing to take the blame, which in another way is to say he took the credit on a day he gave all the credit to his players. “Some of those penalties you can put on me,” the defensive coordinator said. “Those guys don’t do that stuff. They did some stupid stuff after the whistle, but we’re not coaching that. We don’t ever want to do anything cheap. That’s not what we coach. But what we did want was our kids to play hard. Play smart but play hard.” 

The Mountaineers were wound up and they had some swagger on a side of the ball that not only hasn’t had that swagger in recent times, but hasn’t had any business having that swagger. It was their buoy up to and including the point in the game when they believed they were good enough to win the game for the offense.

It was a necessary evil that WVU believed in and that WVU was coached to believe in, believe it or not.

 “The mentality this game was to play their game,” WVU running backs coach JaJuan Seider said. “We were not going to be intimidated by anybody. They were not going to come in here and run over us again. They embarrassed us last year. Call it like you see it. They kicked our butts up and down the field.

“But as a man, you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘That is not going to happen. Not on our field. Not in front of our crowd.’ ”

How did we get here? Let’s find out by taking a look at the Good and the Bad of freshly ranked WVU v. Baylor.

Bad: But seriously …
… 14 penalties at home against the No. 4 team in the country is a losing effort. Three turnovers is a losing effort. A minus-three in the turnover  margin is a losing effort. A svelte 2.7 yards per carry is a losing effort. WVU did a whole hell of a lot right, but on other days, it might not have been enough.


Gibson strums a hit

Monday, October 20, 2014

I don’t want to get too into the day Tony Gibson had Saturday, because he’s a prominent part of the G&B tomorrow, but I do want to bookend something.

I talked to him Tuesday and he, I thought boldly, said the Baylor game would be a measuring stick. Boldly, I say, because … well, to be honest, because Baylor.


Texts from Baylor Game Day

Monday, October 20, 2014

So, wow. Right?

West Virginia beat a top-five team at home for the first time 11 years Saturday and a day later returned to the top 25 for the first time in 102 weeks. The Mountaineers are No. 22, and they hadn’t been outside the top 25 for a longer period of time since a 214-week gap that lasted from the 1998 season to the 2002 season.

That’s a big monkey.

And I’m not going to talk about riots, nor will I admit to playing a role in them because I shared the link to the scanner on Twitter or because I broadcast some of the things that were happening in town that I witnessed. I kind of hope Dana Holgorsen, who’s been quick and right to ask for more from his fans in the past, will say something today or tomorrow when he’s available. It would be hugginsian of him, but I can understand if he does and says nothing, because others are already working on what happened.

Maybe there’s a place for the head coach or for sports to clean up or address what sports triggered, but I’m not the one to suggest that and this isn’t the place to get into all that. Plus, I’m a hangman. Arrest ‘em. Expel ‘em.

Let’s football, because I had a blast Saturday. You and I gauge our entertainment and satisfaction differently, but I reckon we walked away pretty content with the 3 hours and 59 minutes devoted to that game. I was pretty well enthralled form start to finish because I dig matchups. I was glued to the chess matches the coordinators were playing with one another and the boxing matches the players were conducting during and after plays. There were notable individual efforts and more subtle ones (wait until you see Cody Clay in tomorrow’s G&B), much like there were performances that left you wanting more because a player was either so good or so disappointing. There was action and intrigue and sadness and drama and skill and tension and laughter and excitement and screaming and singing and gasping and posturing.

There was a little or a lot of everything, which is all I can ask for. And the Mountaineers won, which is all you can ask for.

Feeling mad hostile, ran the apostle. Flowing like texts when I speak the gospel. My edits are in [brackets].

11:29 am:
Oakman going to bleed neon green today?

27 minutes until kick off and the over/under is 79. (Baylor -8.5) I’d bang the over all damn day. If betting were legal.

These teams combine to average 89.4 PPG. HOW in the blue (and gold) hell is the O/U only 79??

Do the circle!

Corso & Herbstreit just picked WVU for what it’s worth.

12:06 pm:
Spatial teams.

Literally the first thing that happens is a special teams moment. I hate knowing it’s always possible.

Good gawd that nose is gonna be a damn problem, isn’t he?

Hard to imagine a worse opening sequence than that.

Well, you can’t have a last minute comeback if you don’t fall far behind.

I didn’t even have time to send you a sarcastic text before Baylor scored.

I’ve seen better starts before.

I’m really glad I called off work for this.

You were right! Quick start WAS important!