by Brandon Priddy
Welcome to the Presnap Read, where I try to drop some knowledge on the WVU game to come, and more importantly Jed drops some knowledge at the end. And yes, it’s at the end for a reason – I know that’s what y’all are wanting to read. Momma Priddy didn’t raise no dummy.
So here we are. The conference season is finally upon us and excitement is at a fever pitch. The importance of this game for WVU can’t really be overstated. Win and you make The Leap into the National Conversation About Big Things. That’s fun because we haven’t been in the National Conversation About Big Things since 2012. We spent about a week on the fringe last year, but that’s been about it. Well, leave Norman with a scalp and that changes really quick. I’ve spent the evening texting and tweeting friends about this game and I’ll just say regardless of the outcome it’s fun to have that buzz again.
I’ll just pretty quickly jump into some of my quick thoughts. Continue reading
by: Brandon Priddy
Yeah, something like this. pic.twitter.com/ENKib32TRx
— WVUPros (@WVUPros) September 26, 2015
My wife told me a story about being out in her parent’s Land Cruiser one time and seeing some people in the road looking at something. As she got closer, she noticed that there was a turtle in the road and these people had stopped and, as soon as she passed, they were going to pick it up and get it safely to the shoulder. Being a decent human being but also being too close to stop in time so they could get to the stranded animal, she decided to straddle the animal and leave it safely behind. Unfortunately my wife is a much better person than she is a driver, and being in her late teens and driving a car that was too big for her to begin with, she miscalculated.
by: Brandon Priddy
Today’s rapid reaction isn’t as rapid as normal because I spent a rainy postgame afternoon building a horse shed. But there is still plenty to talk about so I’ll throw out what I’ve got:
- Credit Dana Holgorsen for recognizing the limitation of the air raid being lack of ground game and tweaking it accordingly. Today we saw perhaps the best embodiment of what he wants to do every week: near-perfect balance with 304 rushing yards and 297 through the air. And those air yards were amazingly efficient – Skyler Howard finished 21/33 for 294 yards and 4 scores. That’s an average of 14 yards per completion and nearly 1 score per 5 completions. They ran consistently as Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell led the charge with 147 and 77 yards respectively and used the passing game to take big shots down the field. In short, it was a well-oiled machine.
- Between the red zone success of WVU and Holgo’s propensity to get swaggy when things are going well, there’s roughly a 3 million percent chance he drops one of his trademark dry comments in his weekly presser. I’m guessing something along the lines of “(cough) yeah we did pretty well in the red zone but I’m sure some of you want to see us get 9 points out of those trips so we’re working on that.”
- And while Swaggy Holgo is always fun, what could REALLY be a good time is Swaggy Jed. The SignalCaller himself was banging the drum against banging the drum on red zone problems, taking a few paragraps in his weekly Hot Reads column to tackle that very subject and all but predicting Saturday’s success (5 red zone trips, 5 TDs) with this paragraph: What I haven’t seen is a lack of effort. For a West Virginia offense that’s been led this year by a quarterback making just his third and fourth career starts and has featured three redshirt-sophomores, a redshirt-freshman and a true freshman, I’m confident that the best of what we’ll see from this crew – in the red zone and otherwise – is still ahead.
- A near perfect performance from WVU’s punt and kick coverage teams against quite possibly the most dangerous return man in America. Maryland’s Will Likely entered the game as the nation’s #2 punt returner, averaging 28.08 yards on 12 returns with a pair of TDs. Against WVU he didn’t log a single punt return, and averaged a modest 16.2 yards on 4 kickoff returns. For a program that has a….uhh….spotty history of punt coverage, that was a very telling stat.
- I’ve used the word perfect a few times here and that gives me the willies. My general sense with most teams and certainly WVU is that it’s hard to follow up one perfect performance with another, and with a trip to Norman to face OU next on the slate, it’s going to take a great performance from WVU to get to 4-0. Now having said that they did follow up the virtuoso performance against Baylor last year with a great win at Oklahoma State, so maybe I’m worried about nothing. It’s a nice problem to have.
by Brandon Priddy
Good morning Morgantown pic.twitter.com/OlbN8KUcRo
— Smoking Musket (@SmokingMusket) September 26, 2015
Hello beautiful. I’m ready to roll. Are you ready to roll? Let’s roll.
When a store or restaurant is opening for the first time, the owners will often do what’s called a “soft opening.” Basically they’ll open their doors to a limited number of customers – family and friends, neighbors, that sort of thing – with the aim of working out the kinks before a grand opening celebration that gets things rolling in earnest.
For a West Virginia football season that has begun 2015 with home games against Georgia Southern and Liberty, the concept seems appropriate. See a soft opening is still an opening. You’re selling your wares or making food, but you’re doing it a little out of the public eye and you’ve got a little margin for error. West Virginia has so far taken on a pair of foes that don’t necessarily have the brand to match the level of football they play and as such have remained largely off the national radar.
And honestly, given that they’re breaking in a new starting quarterback as well as new starting receivers on the outside (one of whom is a true freshman) the concept was probably necessary. Last year’s veteran squad acquitted themselves very well when they opened last season against #2 Alabama in Atlanta, but I don’t know that this year’s offense could have survived in similar conditions. The performance against Georgia Southern was impressive, but there were enough miscues in the Liberty game that it’s clear this is still a unit coming together.
But come Saturday afternoon around 3 Eastern (2 if you’re hanging with me here in the Lord’s time zone) the soft open is over and it’s time to see what this 2015 edition of the Mountaineers is really made of. And stuff is gonna get real real fast. Continue reading
by: Brandon Priddy
Just when you thought a Mountaineer season that led off with home tilts against Georgia Southern and Liberty couldn’t get off to a slower start, we didn’t play ANYONE this week. But just because WVU is on a bye doesn’t mean we’re taking the week off here at the Retweet – they people need their tweets! Let’s get things rolling as we prepare for the biggest test of an early season.
@abpriddy Keep up the Re-Tweet my man. One of the best things on the internet.
— David Harkins (@SwamiEER) September 16, 2015
Flattery will get you everywhere, including a shoutout in the Retweet.
— The Dalí Museum (@TheDali) September 18, 2015
This gets the award for “most creative use of a meme.” I’d feel sorry for that UVa student, but a) this is probably the most significant adversity he’s faced in life and b) I’m still pissed off about the 2002 Tire Bowl and their jackass marching band. Continue reading
by: Brandon Priddy
It was another week of Mountaineer football and another overmatched opponent. Unfortunately WVU looked nowhere near as sharp this week as they did last week, but you’ll never hear me complain about a solid win. Right Auburn? Let’s just jump right to it.
— Randy Gyorko (@GooseGyorko) September 9, 2015
Aww shucks, thanks man. I just want to get it done on all three sides of the blog and do my part to slow down worker productivity on a Tuesday morning. Yes I know you’re finger is hovering over the ‘minimize’ button in case your boss wanders over. It’s football season, baby!
— SB✯Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) September 9, 2015
But before we hit Week 2, one last look over the shoulder at Week 1. Godfrey does fantastic work over at SB Nation and this is a great read and includes an interesting little tidbit about a wrinkle to the WVU offense that Mountaineer coaches had tried to hide, but was (to hear GSU coaches tell it) tipped by Skyler Howard’s eyes in a picture someone dug up on the web of a WVU practice. So get ready for Holgo to hire Steve Williams to give all cameramen the Tiger Woods treatment. Continue reading
I’m going to start a little postgame segment here where I post quick thoughts immediately after WVU games. Just things that jump out at me as I watch. This is more fun if you guys jump in in the comments section below, so please add your thoughts as well. Here’s my quick hits following WVU’s solid if not spectacular 41-17 win over the Liberty Flames.
- The red zone offense is going to be a thing all year. It doesn’t look like we have a dominant run-blocking offensive line, so they aren’t going to be able to just roll over folks inside the 20. And while Skyler Howard looked good in the second half, he’s still not as reliable as he needs to be. Granted this team looked a lot better in that part of the field in the second half than they did in the first, but it was a thing last year and sure looks to be a thing this year. That’s basically just a long way for me to say Josh Lambert could do some special things. I don’t want to jinx what he’s got going and I’d be thrilled to trade some FGs for TDs, but it is what it is. The FBS record for field goals in a season is 31 by Georgia’s Billy Benett in 2003. Josh had 30 last year. So far he’s got 5 this year, and that’s against two of the worst defenses WVU will probably see. I’d say we’ve got a few more 3 and 4 FG games in front of us this season – and with this defense, maybe that’s enough to win. Lambert got robbed for the Lou Groza Award last year (given to the nation’s best placekicker) but you’ve gotta believe he’s on the short list this season. Good luck to him. That’s about the best I can do to find a silver lining on this red zone cloud.
Hey, did you guys enjoy that? I enjoyed that. I mean, how could you NOT enjoy that?
First of all let’s get the pleasantries out of the way. As some of you may remember I got my start here at TheSignalCaller and then I kinda floated away for awhile and did some work over at The Smoking Musket. Well I’m back now and as you can probably tell this site has enjoyed an overhaul that I think is going to make it more fun for me and you. It’s easier to post than it was before – good for me……but more importantly we now have an area to add comments …..good for you. So I’m really excited to be back here and I think it’s going to be a great season. We certainly got off to a rip-roarin’ start!
With that said some of you may remember a feature I did over at the Musket called ‘The Mountaineer Retweet.’ It was pretty popular over there and they’re still doing that and you should definitely check them out. But that feature was always at least as much fun for me to write as folks told me it was for them to read, so I had to do it here. For those who are new to it, it’s pretty simple – I post tweets and then I riff off them. We have fun. Hope you do, too.
Let’s get things started for the 2015 edition of Mountaineer Football!
— Matt Wells (@wmattwells) September 4, 2015
A good sign. A very good sign.
— Not Dana Holgorsen (@FauxHolgorsen) September 5, 2015
AN EVEN BETTER SIGN!