Bob Hertzel is generally speaking, one of the better guys covering WVU football. While this is in no way a high standard, I feel it needs to be said before we get into whatever the f-ck this is. Despite the chicken little reactions after Saturday, the WVU football program is not falling apart, it merely misevaluated Jeff Casteel’s talents. Get a new DC, and recruit for that system. We’ll be fine. Now lets dig into this mess.

HERTZEL COLUMN: Problem at West Virginia is cultural

By Bob HertzelTimes West Virginian

The all-caps header always has confused me.

MORGANTOWN — Let us, for a moment, forget about blocked field goals and shanked punts, about a football team that gains yards but not victories.
For this is not about football at all, really.
Let us even forget, too, about a Big East basketball team losing to a Division II basketball team, for it is not about basketball either.

Then what’s it about Bob?

It is not about Dana Holgorsen or Bob Huggins, two men who represent both ends of the coaching spectrum, a rookie head coach with six victories and the fourth-winningest active coach in college basketball with more than 600 victories.

I’m Bob Hertzel, I’m a sports writer. Here’s a column that’s not about sports. This will end horribly.

But winning or losing on Friday or Saturday really isn’t what this is all about at West Virginia University. It is far larger, far more long term, far more difficult to fix, for the problem that has been allowed to develop is a cultural one, a problem of emphasis, of losing sight of what is important.

This is about a leadership group of President Jim Clements and athletic director Oliver Luck taking West Virginia where it doesn’t belong, moving into places where it does not fit.
We’re not just talking Big East vs. Big 12, although that is crucially involved in all this and in the long run that may prove to be a costly mistake, for it takes them away from their geographical roots and those who root for them.

Except everyone who can leaves WV and there are plenty of fans spread out amongst all 50 states.

This is about an attitude that has permeated the entire athletic scene at West Virginia, an attitude that has everyone believing it is something it is not. It is not Texas or Oklahoma, not Michigan or Ohio State.

Don’t reach for the stars! Reach for that tree over there! No the smaller one! YEAH!

It shouldn’t want to be any of those, either, yet that is what we are all caught up in.

Why I even saw a colored in the press box last weekend!

Athletics at West Virginia has come to be about building facilities instead of building teams. It is about television instead of education and money instead of victories.

You’re right. I forgot that a new weight room equals 2.5 nose tackles.

It’s about fancy uniforms instead of fancy championship rings, and that is what’s wrong. We sing “Country Roads,” but we seem to be yearning for the glitter of the big-city lights.

Country Roads is a song about going home. It’s not a song about working at Wal-Mart and appearing on faces of meth twice a month.

They say WVU is replacing Missouri in the Big 12, but it looks more like it is replacing Colorado. After all, Colorado has mountains and John Denver, but has run off to the Pac-12 where it has no business being either.

There is nothing wrong with reaching for the stars, but not if it takes you out of your element, turns you from being a beer-and-shot society and a wine-sipping, pinky-raised clique.

Yeah because when I think of sophistication, I think of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas.

West Virginia was successful running the football because running hard is physical and that is the way of life in the area. This is the land of the pickup truck and the hunting rifle, a land of coal miners and coal mines.

YEAH! BOB DOESN’T HAVE TIME FOR YOUR FANCY FORWARD PASSIN’ AND READIN’! I’ve lived in WV my entire life. I’ve never held a rifle, been in a coal mine, and anytime I see a guy driving a giant pick-up truck, I think ”hey that guy must be over compensating for a small d-ck”. I do however, enjoy watching football teams run offenses that weren’t invented in 1955.

Why was West Virginia basketball such a strong fit in the Big East? Because it was a black-and-blue brand of basketball, a physical, tough game.

Except for those highly successful years under John Beilein, when we stood 5 slow guys around the perimeter, shot a billion 3’s, and didn’t rebound.

Why was West Virginia football always pushing and scrambling toward the top, even from the early days in the Big East?

Because it was an underdog, which West Virginians are and always have been. Miami was king and with them Virginia Tech, while WVU was driven to unseat them.

You’re right Bob. God forbid we ever have a football team anyone would ever want to watch play.

WVU didn’t get the great players Miami had, but for the most part they fought them as an equal, did it on attitude.

And by recruiting players from Florida.

Winning on the football field was all that mattered.

Today, be it real or imagined, the profit margin seems to matter more than the point spread.

Style seems to trump substance, and it is a message that subliminally sifts down to the athletes.

You don’t win athletic events if you are recruiting players to whom having a fancy $24 million practice facility is an important item, one that would sway them to go elsewhere if you didn’t have it.

”Winners love sh-t holes”-Bob Hertzel

Athletes who are happy you gave them a pair of sneakers are far more likely to give their all for the alma mater.

You want to play in the Big 12, which probably means your recruiting base is going to move westward, but there isn’t a kid in Oklahoma or Texas who emotionally cares about or follows West Virginia any more than there is a kid in West Virginia who cares about or follows those Big 12 teams.

We can’t go back and change anything now, but the situation has to be addressed at the highest levels, for West Virginia is what it is and that is said not to point out what it isn’t, but simply to emphasize that it is a way of life, an attitude, something that cannot be allowed to slip away.

What attitude? An attitude of mediocrity and stubbornness?

If it does, West Virginia will take a downward turn in college athletics

So, the crux of your column is this- ”These new guys have big ideas and they scare me”. Holy fu-k is that some short-sighted bull sh-t. Go masturbate to the 1990’s somewhere else.