The Mountaineer Retweet: Give me Liberty…….

by: Brandon Priddy

@abpriddy

 

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.

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!

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.

Holgo (or whoever runs his Twitter account) with the subtle dig of the week there. Excellent to finally get the Brawl back on the schedule and it’s worth nothing that in 2022 we get Pit on 9/17 and Virginia Tech on 9/24, which just happens to be my birthday. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate turning 43 (gulp) than an entire week devoted to the rivalries of my formative years. I’m sure my aging body will hold up wonderfully.

Hey, speaking of Virginia Tech…….

How do we feel about this? If you can’t tell that’s WV native and WVU celebrity fan Brad Paisley wearing a half WVU and half Virginia Tech jersey. I know some of the feeling has faded with not playing for a decade, but the fact is for the 90s and early 2000s no rivalry (not even Pitt) meant as much to a WVU season as the VT game. It started out as a border war and then as the VT program surged, it became a measuring stick. The fans don’t care for each other, there are vast cultural differences and it’s just been a nasty rivalry for the last 20 years. So that image turns my stomach.

Having said that Paisley may be the only human on the planet that could get a pass for such an egregious wardrobe error. He was a friggin’ rock star on GameDay last year, throwing tons of anti-Pitt red meat to the masses and just being generally awesome. He gave the Mountaineer mascot a prominent place in the video for his new Country Nation music video. He’s by far our most visible celebrity fan. He’s my neighbor for pete’s sake! (seriously, I live in Franklin, TN).

But man…….that jersey. Let’s just burn that thing and forget about it.

(But hey Brad, if you want to send along that half Tennessee / half WVU jersey from the video my wife digs it)

From the silly to the serious. For some reason nothing made the tragedy of 9/11 resonate for me quite like when I learned a few years ago that former WVU quarterback Chris Gray, who worked in one of the Towers, was a victim. I don’t know many people in New York City and fortunately the few I do know emerged unscathed. And even though I watched it live on TV, it was still something that happened to other people. Then a few years ago I learned about Gray. For some reason it’s always been jarring to me that a guy I watched from the stands QB my beloved Mountaineers against those hated Hokies in October 1991 would almost exactly a decade later be a victim of the most notorious terrorist attack in history. Those are two things that just don’t compute or belong in the same area code. Life is fragile and you never know where things could go. Hug your family. You won’t be forgotten, Chris.

Ugh. That’s a problem for later. Let’s just worry about that later.

Y’all are heroes and you don’t need any of my cleverness to underscore that. Allow me to just say thank you.

Those of you who have been reading this feature for awhile know that the WVU Fashion Corner is an INTEGRAL part of the Retweet. And I’m somewhat of a uniform curmudgeon. I’m not nuts about these. I just feel strongly that when you’re playing WVU football, navy blue needs to have a seat at the table. I’m willing to grant a pass to the all white stormtrooper look ’cause it’s dope as hell. This is not dope as hell. I mean I don’t hate it, it’s just kinda “meh.” Gotta have blue.

If you had told me “name the school with a chandelier at their tailgate” I’d have lost a lot of money on it not being an ACC team. You got class for days, Scarlett Knights. I love this so much. Between fancy tailgates and their drunken sailor athletic department, nobody throws good money after bad like Rutgers!

Seriously, this was such an uninspiring opponent that the best the great Dougity Dog could come up with for his pregame hype video was “Progress.” And that’s not a shot at Doug, who does absolutely amazing work. Dude could make a hype video about me designing buildings that would have me ready to eat a roll of drawing paper and break #2 pencils over my head. And the video is typically great. I just loved that time came to name it and you can almost hear Holgo saying “aw hell, I don’t care…. I just want to make progress. You know what…..just use that. Gawd I hate FCS week.”

I can’t possibly overstate how much I want a WR named Rontavius Groves on this roster. Staff needs to close this deal and make it happen. HIS NAME IS RONTAVIUS FRIGGIN’ GROVES. I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HIM AND HE’S MY FAVORITE. If I’d learned about this young man this time last year I’d be enjoying WVU games with my new bouncing baby boy RONTAVIUS TIMOTHY PRIDDY in my lap. I mean Everett is a great name, but it ain’t no Rontavius. Sorry little dude.

Two points here:

a) Never complain about a win – even over an FCS team. Bad things can happen

b) Gus Malzahn clearly has had a rabbits foot surgically implanted somewhere and it’s never coming out. I’ve never seen anything like this team, and given the …. uhh….checkered history of WVU when it comes to Lady Luck, I kinda hate Auburn for it. Had no business winning this game and would have gained instant infamy with a loss (right 2007 Michigan) till the JSU kid shanks a 16 yard punt from inside his own 10 to all but hand them a tying score. Nobody should be that lucky.

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a fake Fake Holgo account. This is not the world famous FauxHolgo. We’re knee deep in meta here at the Retweet. But the point remains, red zone offense is clearly a Thing now. But for the grace of a boneheaded late hit by Liberty, we’d have been staring 3 first-half FGs after stalled trips inside the 20 dead in the face. And the problem is a simple one – this team doesn’t have a dominant running game. I mean they have guys who can do things in space, but that’s the thing about the red zone – there isn’t any space. It’s a place where you need to line up and win individual battles. This WVU o line just isn’t there yet. My hope is that we get more of the Skyler Howard who threw a couple nifty tosses in that same area of the field during the second half. And in all fairness, he threw a nice crossing strike to Shelton Gibson on the opening drive that should have been a score but Gibson couldn’t hold on.

Sidenote: classic Holgorsen when asked about this very thing as he came off the field for halftime:

Root Sports Sideline Dude: “Coach, you were able to get 7 points on your third trip in to the red zone. The first two they made it difficult. What were you seeing from them defensively?”

Holgo: (pauses, internally does the math on what fine he would incur for dropping bombs during a telecast that may or may not be in the middle of a pre-emption to film Pirates practice)… (pauses some more to double check that math…..reluctantly decides to keep it clean, there may be kids watching) “Well, uh, it seems like every time someone makes a big deal about something we struggle with it. Last year it was turnovers this year it’s offensive red zone stuff. It ain’t nuthin’ they’re doing we just got to put the ball in play I got a little ansy throwing when we should have run it.”

Disdainful Towards the Media Holgo amuses me, but I don’t know that I can endorse his logic here. It’s a big deal because it’s a problem, not the other way around. Now you’re the offensive guru and I’m just a mouthy blogger, but from where I’m typing you couldn’t punch it in against Liberty and your kicker is on pace to boot roughly the distance from Bridgeport to Beckley in field goals this season. But hey, you’ve outscored two opponents a combined 85-17 so you get the benefit of the doubt…..but this is a Thing worthy of discussion. We’ll talk again in 2 weeks.

But hey, maybe we need to just steer into the skid. To the WVU graphics folks (who do a wonderful job), you need to jazz up Josh Lambert’s FG graphic. We need racing stripes or lighting bolts or something. Maybe make GIFs that work in little gremlins across the bottom “Press Your Luck” style (no whammies……no whammies!!!). But we’re going to be seeing a LOOOOOOOOOT of this graphic, so spruce it up. Maybe have a hidden clue in each one and once you get like 8 of them they assemble to give you a coupon to Sheetz. Let’s think outside the box here, people!

He got robbed last year, but if you’re curious I did some digging and found that the FBS record for FGs in a season is 31 by Georgia’s Billy Bennet in 2003. Lambert banged 30 last year. He’s right on pace for 30 this year (not including a potential 13th game). And if he somehow does that again and gets screwed out of the Groza Award again (that was robbery last year) so help me I will rush that stage Kanye style. Never has a peripheral college football award meant so much to me.

And they held up pretty well there, right? Depth! It matters!

But on the bright side I think I know what we’ll all be talking about during the off week.

This killed me. Between this and the “Enterprise” “attacking” the Jayhawk, bands are having a stellar 2015. Somewhere my man Patrick Southern is beaming with pride.

Yeah they didn’t look good, but surely they’d pull away from Bowling Green State eventually…….

And then they gave up 3 unanswered TDS to end the game. The carnage was described thusly:

Bowling Green outgained Maryland 692-341, and ran 105 plays to Maryland’s 59. The outcome might’ve been more lopsided if not for two turnovers on downs in Maryland territory before halftime, and two missed field goals by Tyler Tate.

WVU needs to take care of business in two weeks.

And he looked so confident doing it. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Daikiel Shorts is gonna be the guy behind the guy this season, but make no mistake he may be the most important guy in that WR corps. Also I’m gonna go out on a limb and say we see a little more of Daikiel in the red zone once games become more meaningful and competitive.

The Streak is survived by 4 loving cornerbacks and 3 devoted safeties including a bad, bad man named Karl Joseph. Pallbearers will be the best top to bottom corps of linebackers we’ve seen in at least a decade. In lieu of flowers, the Mountaineer defense will accept any and all turnovers. Services were held in the north end zone.

Or if you’re into pain, it was how things should have looked when the exact same play was run to perfection against Alabama and the only thing standing that prevented cutting that lead to 3 and getting Bama on pucker alert was an errant Clint Trickett throw. But the fact remains – that’s a nice play.

Which begs the question why waste it in the 3rd quarter of a yawner. But hey – red zone score! I know, I know, I’m pretty impossible to please.

(also when you see that set against Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, be on the lookout for a little misdirection – maybe he actually makes the handoff?)

If you’re scoring at home Howard’s season numbers are 37/51 for 622 yards, 5 TDs and no INTs. Comparable numbers to 2012 Geno Smith and 2014 Clint Trickett over the same stretch. So he’s doing pretty well.

Pretty interesting, right?

Respect!

So there you have it. The Mountaineers are 2-0 after a pair of yawners and knocking on the door of national polls (26th in the Coache’s and 27th in the AP) that’s a good thing. Also they look good in places and bad in places – also a good thing in mid-September. With the off week on the horizon they get a little prep time before welcoming Maryland to the friendly confines and then taking a huge step up in competition with a trip to Norman that ushers in as difficult a schedule stretch as any WVU team has ever seen. But those are problems for later. Right now we’re undefeated, the coffee tastes a little better and the pepperoni rolls are fresher.

It’s good to be a Mountaineers and it’s fun to tweet about it. We’ll see you next week for a special bye-week edition of the Retweet!

LET’S GOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!