I'm a bit fed up with the lofty expectations which have been dumped on our Mountaineers as a result of the hiring of Dana Holgorsen. This is not to criticize the man himself; I don't know him from Adam. I am however more than a little surprised at how Mountaineer fans everywhere including many of the so called experts are certain of what to expect on the offensive side of the ball and how that will translate to wins. I'm not saying we shouldn't be thinking positive. I am saying we should be a bit more realistic.
Case-in-point: There are experts indicating the Mountaineers are not an unremarkable choice to win the National Championship. That's interesting given, thus far in the pre-season polls, the highest I've seen our Mountaineers ranked is 17th; the lowest is 21st.
"If the Mountaineers beat LSU..." This isn't exactly unreasonable, when one considers that WVU lost to LSU in Death Valley by only two FG's.(Remember; our kicker missed one and had another blocked.) Unfortunately, half of the equation that held LSU to 13 offensive points consists of a defense that was ranked in the top five, but is not only 7 starters down due to graduation, but is also short one projected key position starter and one key backup: George Wright & Branko Busick are out due to legal issues. While we may see one of them return; the other is likely headed...elsewhere. Accept it or not; all of this as a whole is a lot for our defense to overcome. Jeff Casteel & company are one hell-of-a defensive coaching staff. They're not miracle workers.
The other half of that LSU equation was an offense which struggled against the Tiger's defense, which wasn't bad either. In fact, the Tigers held WVU to 177 yards total offense. That statistic won't improve because Dana Holgorsen is Head Coach. That statistic will only improve because the Mountaineers execute his game plan. Doesn't anyone remember the dropped passes and the missed blocking assignments in the first half alone, by members of the team who've returned this season?(One of them is now out for the season.) I don't care whose system is used. If it's not executed, the team will not be successful.
New Head Coach: Dana Holgorsen has been in coaching for quite a few years. He's not new to the game. Everybody knows he was brought in to eventually replace Bill Stewart. There's no doubt that Oliver Luck was certain when he hired him, that Holgorsen would make a fine head coach. That is, until the man was escorted from a casino for a bit too much celebration.(Not exactly the sort of activity in which we like to see "Roll Models" engage.) While it's nice to know he's human, he's not only in the public eye, but he has over one hundred players and staff looking to him for guidance. Lead by example. It's everyone's hope that this particular incident is the exception, not the rule. Otherwise, how can one lead a group of young men and include the words honor and integrity?
Which brings us to Stewart's firing. He allegedly attempted to dig up more dirt on Holgorsen. None of it was substantiated. Not exactly an integrity breeding decision to fire him, was it. Not to mention, there's been little, if anything, said regarding Holgorsen's relationship with Jeff Casteel and the defensive staff; except that his intention is to keep them. What if they have a bad year because of the personnel losses?
Dana Holgorsen commented that kids are resilient. They take their licks one day and the next day they're right back to work. Physically I can agree; emotionally, I'm not so certain. It's all too easy for young kids to lose focus.
The point is this: WVU has a good team in a good competitive league. Just because an offensive guru takes the helm, after successful stops elsewhere over the past six years, doesn't mean it'll translate to success in Morgantown. Which means if there's a let-down, don't be surprised. But, don't be too quick to quit on em, either. Go Mountaineers!!!!!!
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