Getting healthy is key to success for WVU football team

MORGANTOWN, WV - OCTOBER 20: The West Virginia Mountaineers defense stops John Hubert
MORGANTOWN, WV - OCTOBER 20: The West Virginia Mountaineers defense stops John Hubert /

The WVU football team has been beaten up for the first four games of the season. There were three wins in that time, but securing victories was a struggle with a shortage of players.

It was announced this week that linebacker Brendan Ferns will miss the remainder of the season for the WVU football team. However, the Mountaineers will return a linebacker this week in David Long.

Long suffered a meniscus tear before the season started and was to miss the first month of the season. The calendar is about to turn to October and it appears Long will be ready to play against TCU next week.

This week is the bye week for the WVU football team. It appears that there are no other traumatic injuries facing the Mountaineers just yet. Following the win over Kansas last week, defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said that six players were not playing at 100 percent against the Jayhawks. That lack of production allowed Kansas to get back in it, but the Mountaineers still won by three touchdowns.

Some of those players that were indirectly called out by Gibson included Kyzir White, Dravon Askew-Henry and Mike Daniels. These are supposed to be three of West Virginia’s best players in the secondary. Their absence allowed the Jayhawks to come back early in the second half. Luckily, with an extra week to rest and prepare, all three should be back to full strength by the TCU game.

Related Story: Brendan Ferns has season-ending surgery

A full roster on defense is what the WVU football team needs to compete with the rest of the Big 12 Conference. There is only so much the offense can do. The defense needs to step up and limit the big play possibilities of the Horned Frogs.

Gibson is also aware of these issues and he knows that it is going to take a strong effort by his defense to climb higher into the rankings and into the Big 12 title picture. Gibson told Jim Butta of the Wheeling Intelligencer that this weekend, even without an actual game, is key to moving forward.

"“We’ll learn from this game and use this week to get healthy and correct the things that we can correct,”Gibson said. “I might have to have those meetings in the training room, but we have to get healthy.“If we don’t get healthy we are going to have some growing pains.”"

Last year, the West Virginia bye week also came after the fourth game of the season. Instead of a 3-1 record, like the WVU football team has now, the team sported a 4-0 record. Coming off the bye week, the Mountaineers toppled Texas Tech, 48-17, then held off TCU, 34-10.

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That game against Texas Tech after last year’s bye week was the highest margin of victory by the WVU football team all season. It will take a similar effort like that to beat the top ten-ranked Horned Frogs this season.