The Mountaineer Retweet : Oklahoma State

by: Brandon Priddy

@abpriddy

There’s a lot to cover so I’m just going to jump into it. I’ve frankly been surprised and borderline shocked at the level of angst among WVU fans the last 2 days. Clearly things are not in a great place, but I’ll remind you that going into 2014 people were hoping to just get 6 wins. Well they got 7 and doggone near more. But now because the Big 12 schedule makers decided to drop a meteor on WVU’s October, we lose 2 games to a pair of pretty decent teams and it’s time to scuttle the ship.

That is silliness, and it’s silliness I’ll address later. For now let’s get tweeting.

Y’all need to lighten up, so let’s start things out with this week’s Fashion Report. I like this combo. While anyone who’s read me knows I’m a blue hats, blue shirts yella britches guy to the bone, this is a pretty strong set. Probably my #2 (not counting anything involving the throwback helmet).

I included this for the folks who seem so nostalgic for the days of 8 or 9 wins over Rutgers and South Florida. Well, at least Rutgers. It’s a page for The Octonian, which was a hilarious series NunesMagician did that was a spoof roundtable of the old Big East mascots. They’re hilarious, with my favorite running gag the Mountaineer consistently forgetting that Cincinnati was even in the conference.

And then I included this tweet to remind you that instead of city boys from New Jersey or Connecticut lamenting how few Starbucks there are in the Mountain State (not as much of a problem now) we get nice fans from rural areas who appreciate scenic beauty and are actually fun to have a conversation and a beer with.

That’s a nice thing.

Maryland was feeling froggy early and I had dreams of an insane boost to strength of schedule. The day was off to a great start!

And speaking of froggy, how about little upstart Texas! Man what an inspirational story about the underdog rising up and overcoming the odds!

So sad. I can’t even discuss this…..

But on the other side of the coin, how about that defense stepping it up, specifically Jared Barber. I can’t think of one time I thoughts “damn, we really miss Karl Joseph.” And given that we’re talking about one of the 5 best WVU defenders of the last quarter-century, that’s a helluva feat. Tony Gibson is special man. I know Baylor has their firepower and gawdy stats and good for them, but I’ll ride or die with Tony Gibson and this defense all day.

Beautiful. What more can you say.

Very cool.

They did not look great early. But sidenote, did ‘on tilt’ just become a thing here on the Retweet? I like it! I encourage it!

Things did not start out well. And that tweet above, led to these tweets below:

So let’s talk about this. First off I get the sentiment, I do. Skyler is by all accounts a great kid, but he’s not setting the world on fire right now. Having said that, I would ask you to step back and objectively think about this. Behind Skyler is William Crest, a by all accounts freakish talent who’s now played about 3 snaps of football with real bullets flying. He basically missed all of last season with an injury. If Clint Trickett taught us anything, it’s that this is not a simple offense to run. Yes it only takes a few days to install, but I installed Windows 10 in like an hour but two months later I still don’t know what the hell it does. Same thing here. The offense is a system predicated on the quarterback making a variety of choices on multiple levels. First he gets his play, but often has a run/pass option, so he scouts out what he sees and draws on his knowledge to determine what to do there. Now the play starts and maybe there’s even a run/pass option within that play. So having made a pair of determinations, he’ll now drop back and decide where to put the ball based on his split-second determination of the defense and where he knows his receivers will be.

I go through all that to hammer home how complex a task this is. It would be freakish if someone could wrap their head around it in a few days, or even a few months, or maybe a year. Case in point Clint Trickett. When he came to town in 2013 he was unsure of what he was doing and consistently uncomfortable. He was never able to settle in and the offense obviously suffered for it. Flash forward a year and he was a field general completing his coach’s sentences, running private practice sessions, dropping a 500 spot on Maryland and buying his O line dinner.

It takes time, man. And if you think the answer to what ails the WVU offense is untested freshman, I think you’re being a bit intellectually dishonest. They’re not ready. And furthermore Skyler Howard has it within him to play really, really well. We’ve seen it. He’s both run and thrown for touchdowns in each of his last two games. Unfortunately he’s faced two of the better defensive fronts in the league with more in the offing and some key mistakes in bad moments have overshadowed some pretty great moments.

But he’s got it in him to play very well. And he’s by far the best option this team has. That is a fact.

And there’s lots of blame to spread around. Howard has taken the brunt of fan frustration, but 7 of those 17 OSU points off turnovers were made possible by Shell’s fumble. On top of that Wendell Smallwood coughing one up as WVU was driving for another score very well may have taken 7 off the board. This was my biggest complaint with the WVU offense the last two weeks – ball security. But given how much of a premium Dana Holgorsen has historically put on it, I’ve got to think that’s a problem that can and will be addressed.

The part of Eric Striker will be played tonight by Emmanuel Ogbah.

Actually he has TWO little brothers. And you can guess where the next one’s going….

No, it was not going to sputter all night. Not by a longshot.

I wasn’t sure if it was a safety till The Man said it was a safety. And just like that we had a ballgame.

I hardly ever drop my own tweets in here and that’s by design. This is y’all’s time to shine. But I did want to throw this out there. Note the timestamp – here in the central time zone that’s right around halftime. It’s a commentary on this squad that even down 17-2 halfway through the game, I felt confident we’d get back in it. Heck, I was sending “we win this in overtime” texts to my buddies with a few minutes left down 7. This team fights. This team scratches. This team claws. That matters.

I’ll be honest I have no idea what’s going on with the William Crest experiment. Best I could come up with is Holgo wanted to get him some time under the lights just to get him used to the speed of the game and that coupled with his elite athleticism made it something worth exploring. Casazza made a similar point in his Taboo Tuesday segment so that makes me think I’m not out to lunch. In fact, the more I think the more I like this theory. I was a bit critical of how Crest was being used before, but I think I’m on board now.

No. Never ever no not ever no. Never ever.

See, I knew those OSU guys would have a reasonable explanation.

Bill Snyder is coaching McGuyver. I feel confident in saying that if we gave Bill 3 night shift security guards, 6 construction workers, 7 stock boys, a toll booth operator and a librarian, he’d finish 3rd in the Big 12. Maybe that can become a reality show on the Big 12 Network that Texas won’t ever let happen, watching Snyder coach people up in everyday situations. “This Wednesday, watch Bill Snyder talk a call center operator through open heart surgery right before helping an insurance salesman run air traffic control!”

I would totally watch that and so would you.

I’m excited about the Jovon Durante era. And I’m convinced he’s gonna pop one of these kick returns before it’s all said and done. How in the world is this kid a true freshman. Blazing speed, great ball skills and an emerging route runner. Just one of the many bright spots on a squad with an emergent roster.

AND NOW IT’S A BALL GAME.

Great throw here by Howard. People consistently knock his arm strength, but I was talking with Jed after the game and he made the point that “these deep balls aren’t about arm strength, they’re all about timing.” You can’t do much about arms, they are what they are. But you can work on timing. You can develop timing. You can refine timing. With weapons like Gibson and Durante on the outside, I feel good about WVU’s chances of hitting some more home runs in the near future.

And hey, at least we’re not Oregon. Gotta feel a little bad for WVU grad Rob Mullens right now. After a great few years, that’s a hard fall back to earth.

And once again this WVU D signs their name as a ball-hawking unit. We’re about halfway through the season and I think it’s safe to say the turnover demons from last year can be put to bed. Now time to get to work on the turnover gremlins on the other side of the ball.

Depth. It matters. WVU lost a starting corner and hardly missed a step. Does that happen 2 years ago?

This was neat, and at this point I was completely convinced WVU was going to win this game. They had all the momentum and now they had a rabid crowd that was doing odd things. But odd things are distinctive things and those are the things that can often carry a team. That’s what this Mountaineer crowd was going to do – carry this team. Cause that’s what great crowds can do. I’ve seen it and there’s nothing like it. The tying score was inevitable. In fact I texted my buddies “we win this in overtime” and was greeted with…..shall we say….skepticism. But I felt it.

Then my man Skyler Howard was feeling it. Milan Puskar Stadium was rocking and I was convinced that Dana Holgorsen was poised to snag his first home OT win and first home conference night win. This was going to be the turning point.

Tell me about it.

WVU wins the toss and it’s all falling into place. OSU drives a bit and gets close, but if we can just hold them to 3 then this O is 25 yards away from the W.

First huge tip of the cap to Gundy. You hear it often said “go for the win on the road” but I’ve seen plenty of coaches look that moment in the face and blink. Gundy met the moment and fortune favors the bold.

(and this isn’t sour grapes, the better team won, but the better team also had some help when Christian Brown got basically tackled to the ground to open that hole for J.W. Walsh. This is the part where I remind you how obscenely unlucky WVU has been in overtime since 2012).

I honestly don’t have the heart to get into the rest of it and I’m sure you don’t care to read about it. WVU couldn’t score and Oklahoma State won. For the second straight week the Mountaineers fought their way out of a hole but for a second straight week they couldn’t finish the job. It’s frustrating. It’s heartbreaking. It’s also just the 5th game of the season and this team is 3-2.

Looooot of football left to play. TCU looks vulnerable doing a WVU 2012 “give up 44 but score 45” impression and Baylor is the bully that’s feasted on cupcakes but we’re all waiting to see what happens when they get punched in the nose. I remember how that ended last year.

Even when the night is darkest, my man Eugene Napoleon has some positivity. For you youngsters out there he toted the rock on the greatest WVU squad of all time and he’s seen a few football games. And I’m with him…..lot of ball left to play.

And now I’ll leave you with this. When I was younger I hated Steve Spurrier. I found him arrogant, prideful and generally just a jerk. However as both I and the Head Ball Coach got older, I gained an appreciation for what he truly was – perhaps the last bigtime coach (aside from Les Miles) to understand that he’s coaching a bunch of young men playing a game. Games are supposed to be fun, and you can’t deny that Spurrier always had fun. He could throw his verbal jabs because he knew he wasn’t curing cancer or leading troops into battle – he was teaching college kids how to play a game.

I know it’s frustrating and I know you’re mad. Heck, I’m mad. But it’s a game, and things have a way of working their way back around. WVU still has more than half of their season left and a lot can happen. I look at the effort we saw last season and the noon start time and I feel good about their ability to make a game of it in Waco this week. I look down the road at TCU and see a team WVU has played in 3 games to a combined 98-97 score; a 3 point WVU win and a pair of single point Horned Frog victories. And after that the road gets much more manageable. I’m just not quite ready to throw the towel in just yet and I’d encourage you to hold onto your rag as well.

So let’s shake off a tough loss to a very good team, let’s jump back off the mat and set our sights for the highest octane offense in America.

LET’S GOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

 

Thanks for reading and please check back in with us. We’re going to try to take some questions this week, so please shoot me an email at abpriddy@gmail.com and Jed and I will do our best to answer whatever you send. And I’m always on Twitter : @abpriddy and you all know you can find Jed at @TheSignalCaller

 

 

 

 

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