Following two soul crushing weeks of what passes for Mountaineers football, the WVU football team will have a week off. The timing of the bye week is, to say the least, exceptionally well timed.
With the season teetering on the brink of total collapse, the Mountaineers will have two weeks of practice to work out some of their issues. Ok, they have two weeks to completely overhaul both the offense and defense. No big deal right?
Through out the course of the season, it was apparent that the West Virginia Mountaineers had an abundance of talent, but there were some minor issues. As the season progressed, those issues began to glare ever brighter under the microscope of the national media.
The defense struggled week in and week out against some of the better offenses in the country. As the offenses got better, the WVU defense played progressively worse. On special teams, the Mountaineers had a vast array of issues, spanning from field goal and punt protection to kickoff coverage.
The saving grace of the team all season was the golden arm of Geno Smith, the shoe in favorite for the Heisman Trophy. With the top quarterback in the country manning the helm, the Mountaineers could not be stopped. Even on fourth down, Geno and company were able to move the ball effectively. There were no doubts that the West Virginia offense would be able to carry the rest of the team to a great season.
After beating the Longhorns in front of a record home crowd, in a nationally televised game, the Mountaineers looked to be primed for a run at the BCS Championship. National pundits from ESPN to Yahoo were all jumping on the West Virginia bandwagon. Then, with everyone riding high on the Mountaineers’ bandwagon, the wheels fell off.
And the bandwagon careened straight into a ditch, caught fire, and exploded into a million pieces.
Coach Holgorsen and the rest of the Mountaineers coaching staff are left to pick up the smoldering embers of the season and rally the troops. As it appears, West Virginia will be getting back to the basics this week:
At this point, it is more important to focus on the fundamentals of football. When you play as many young kids as we are, the first thing that is going to go is the technique during the heat of battle. We will focus a lot on fundamentals and on basic football. Offensively, that will be tempo, our base plays, blocking and keeping the timing. Defensively, it will be proper alignment, technique, back peddling, breaking on the ball, run fits and making tackles. – Coach Dana Holgorsen
Fundamentals are an excellent place to start with the rebuilding process. There are a ton of underclassmen on this Mountaineers squad that have been exposed for incorrect technique over the past 4 games, especially on the defensive side of the football. Two weeks of drilling should provide ample time for the coaches to work with the younger players, especially with the defensive backs.
It’s not like the team will dramatically turn around and start playing impeccable defense and special teams, but the offense should be afforded plenty of time to get back into rhythm. The young defensive players should be able to refine their techniques to play some semblance of defense.
And the Mountaineers should have more than enough time to restore the faith of the West Virginia fan base. Time to get out the glue and piece this bandwagon back together!