I did not make this headline up
WVU QB Clint Trickett has announced that he will be retiring from football due to five concussions suffered in the last 14 months. Trickett stated that he concealed two of these concussions from West Virginia's training staff, due to a desire to remain on the field. He will now pursue a career in coaching.
Football Study Hall has an article up on West Virginia's offensive woes. I thought it relevant to MGoBlog because the question the author asks is quite similar to the questions being asked about Michigan and Borges: what is the problem with the offense? Who is to blame?
His conclusions, based on his analysis of the Kansas game, will sound awfully familiar to us:
The lack of inside running or downfield passing meant that, apart from the first and last two drives of the game, the Mountaineers had no effective base plays off of which they could build big-play constraints. Holgorsen and Dawson attempted to reassert the ground game in the second half, but poor line play and the inability of the offense to punish cheating defenders rendered this strategy almost dead on arrival. Short gains on first down led to repeated second-and-long and third-and-long situations.
His conclusion is that Holgorsen shouldn't be fired, that the schemes are sound but that
An accumulation of lackluster recruiting, graduated players, and injuries have depleted West Virginia’s roster. The current mishmash of players lacks consistency more than anything else, making Holgorsen’s job a difficult one. That said, he must work on the run game for the rest of the season and the off season in order to overcome his depth issues.
Again, this sounds familiar, albeit with some small tweaks. But certainly the lack of consistency has been one of the chief symptoms of Michigan's current offensive ills.
For me, what's interesting is that Holgo is the architect of a very trendy offense -- the Air Raid -- that comes Smart Football-approved, but ultimately he has the same problems that a more traditionally-oriented Al Borges offense does: can't run inside, can't pass downfield.
This isn't an exoneration of Borges, of course, because one could always argue that Holgo is working with much less than Borges is (WV's recruiting rankings have been in the low 20s and low 40s over the past four years). On the other hand, it does tend to illustrate that bad offenses can share the same problems even when they're diametrically opposed in terms of their philosophies.
I'm sure you're all as excited as I am about the Sugar Bowl. But I'm sure you've all been pestered by friend/family/co-workers about how M is only there because it's all about the money. Or they have various other gripes. I've decided to classify these gripes, and share my unsolicited opinion with you on the internet. I'll approach this as a conversation with each of the various butthurt partisans.
(Since we are the lowest ranked BCS team in, I'll compare everyone's resume to ours)
QUIT YOUR WHINING
Sparty - I'd almost feel bad for you if you were passed over for a BCS game by us. But you weren't - you were outside of the top 14 and therefore ineligible. Why were you outside the top 14, when we both had the same number of losses and you won the head-to-head? And won the division over us? No, not the polls - we were ranked within a spot of each other in all of them. It was the computers. Why? You see, while you beat us by 14, you lost to Nebraska by 21, who lost to us by 28. Triangle of doom. Shall we look at the other loss? Ours was an ugly one in the division to Iowa - by 8 points. Which gave you the edge in the B1G West. Yours was an even uglier thumping at the hands of Notre Dame. Yes, yes, you beat Wiscy on a Hail Mary at home. And then lost to them by 3 at a neutral site. Want to count it as a tie against a top ten team? Doesn't change the fact that If you had shown up at all in that ND game, you may have had a legitimate gripe. You didn't, so you don't. Enjoy Florida. I hear it's nice this time of year.
Oklahoma - Yes, your TT loss doesn't look that much worse than our Iowa loss. And your Baylor loss looks better than our Sparty loss. But the way you got absolutely stomped in the biggest game of your season is way uglier than anything that happened to us. Also, you're 9-3 after that one. You don't deserve anything more than the Copper Bowl.
South Carolina and Arkansas - Nobody wants to hear it. No, the limit on only two teams from a conference isn't holding you back - it keeps you from playing each other. Look, even in your good years nobody wants to see two teams from the same conference play in a bowl game against each other. And the SEC didn't have a good year - Arkansas, your best win is against the Cocks, and your escape against A&M is not as pretty as our escape against Notre Dame. And you got throttled in your two losses - you got beat worse by Bama than Penn State did. Gamecocks, your best win was against Clemson - and your losses against Arkansas and Auburn are comparable to our losses against Sparty and Iowa. But we pretty much thumped everyone else on our schedule except our rivals. Your wins were...uninspiring. The system isn't holding you back at all - your own failures on the field are keeping you out of the party. And no SEC partisans are ever allowed to complain about the BCS again, unless it's talking about how biased pollsters are towards their own.
Boise State - I usually defend you guys, but I'm not going to this time. Yes, you've got only 1 loss, and it was a close one to TCU - better looking than either of our losses alone, and certainly prettier than both put together. And your win over Georgia is comparable to our win over Nebraska. But here's the thing - your next best win was either Tulsa, Wyoming, or SDSU. SDSU was at the bottom of our resume for wins. In fact, it's so far down there we don't even think about where it is. Your second best win is our 7th or 8th best? I've got to go with our resume on this, even with the uglier losses.
Southern Miss - When both of your losses are to teams without winning records, then you have not proven you belong in the BCS. That interview gave me a good laugh though.
YOU MAYBE HAVE A POINT
TCU - I love how you guys do what you do, and you had an amazing season. Beating Boise on the blue turf and winning the Mountain West is nothing to smirk at. And while your win @Boise may be better than ours against Nebraska, and your losses are comparable to ours, I've got to go with the same argument I had against Boise - the meat of your schedule is the dregs of ours. What's that you say? Why is West Virginia ahead of you? That's a good point, but you guys know how it is in the Mountain West. That's why you're leaving next year. Good luck in the B12.
Baylor - I've had a lot of fun watching you guys, and I'm rooting for RG3 for the Heisman. And your resume isn't bad - beating three ranked teams is far better than us, and getting blown out by OK St is not so bad. Losing to K St by one isn't bad at all either. Getting blown out by A&M is way worse than anything that happened to us though. So yea, your resume is close to ours. But there's a couple of other guys in your conference who belong more, so I don't feel so bad that we're in over you.
I FEEL FOR YOU GUYS BUT YOUR CONSOLATION ISN'T SO BAD
Kansas State - You guys should be in a BCS game. Yes, your blowout at home by OU is bad, but your second loss was by seven @the #2 team in the country. You totally have an argument that "it's all about the money." But hey now, don't look at US like that - we weren't the last ones in. That would be the Hokies you have beef with - and truth be told, I think you'd probably travel to NOLA better than them anyway.
But really, getting a chance to play an overrated #6 SEC team in the Cotton Bowl - a game that was "major" back in the Bowl Coalition days - that's a major opportunity for respect, and pretty much a BCS game anyway. I mean, without the massive payout. But that would've gone to Texas as blood money anyway, right?
DEATH TO THE BCS
Oklahoma State - What can anybody say, guys. You got hosed by Alabama. They have two wins over the top 25, you have four. They lost to the #1 team at home, and you lost to an unranked team on the road - your loss is a little worse, your wins are better. No, just cause they blew out a weak schedule doesn't mean anything - you should have gotten the nod from resume alone.
What makes it ridiculous and insufferable is the obvious - this is a rematch, they didn't win their division, they're playing a team from their conference. I know you've been over it a hundred times over in your own heads. I hope you guys beat Stanford and win the Grantland Rice and the Macarthur trophies. I hope Alabama gets crushed.
But really, your gripe is way more legitimate than K-State's. It's probably the most legitimate gripe I've ever heard with regards to the BCS - yes, more legit than Oregon, Auburn, and USC have had in the past. While I've never loved the BCS, I never thought it was so broken as to screw you over for a less deserving team because they came in second in a conference that was good the last couple of years. The system is broken and you've been royally screwed by it, and will watch them play a regional scrimmage.
I'm way more excited for your matchup against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl than I am for the event that precedes LSU's deserved coronation. Good luck, and prove to the nation that you deserve a shot.
The WVU Board of Governors approved the sell of beer at Mountaineer sporting events by a 10-5 vote.
So what does AD Oliver Luck think?
Luck said he was "pleased" with the approval, which he believes will adress "coarseness" in the stands and "increase civility." The policy change will go into effect as WVU prohibits smoking in public areas of the stadium and ends its practice of allowing re-entry at Mountaineer Field during games.
"I believe we have taken a step forward toward our goal of a safer, friendlier and more civil game day experience," Luck said in a prepared statement ...
There have been discussions about the defense and RichRod's "managment style" of delegation to the DC for execution. Can a head coach delegate so much and still have a successful defense? Here is a summary of RichRod's defenses over the past 10 years.
|Team||Total D (yd/game)||Total D (rank)||Scoring D (pts/game)||Scoring D (rank)|
*through 7 games
Averaged by Team:
|Year||Team||Total D (yd/game)||Total D (rank)||Scoring D (pts/game)||Scoring D (rank)|
RichRod has finally able to install his high-yardage offense from West Virginia to Michigan. Defensively, the numbers above show that RichRod had a top-40 defense most years at West Virginia, which obviously has not transpired at Michigan.
Assuming that RichRod delegated to the DC at West Virginia like he has done at Michigan, then my conclusion is that his "management style" has worked in the past. RichRod's defenses have been better than average almost every year at West Virginia. So then why are the number so horrible at Michigan?
Offense run by Threet/Sheridan couldn't keep the Michigan defense off the field
Offense run by freshman QBs couldn't keep the Michigan defense off the field
Michigan defense couldn't keep the Michigan defense off the field (attrition, injury)
Related to this discussion http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/sigh-wvu-dc-jeff-casteel-jeffs-defenses-kept-us-games, stability with the defensive side of the team, players and coaches, is what has been lacking. RichRod had talent on the defensive side of the ball when he arrived. So in hindsight, it was a mistake to hire Shafer who lasted only a year. Again in hindsight, should RichRod have kept Ron English? Would there have been more stability or were the faulty offenses of 2008 and 2009 too much to overcome? We will never know.
West Virginia in 2007 was one victory over Pitt away from playing for the national championship. Notice in that year, WV had a top 10 defense which adds to the conventional wisdom that defense wins championships (or in that year, almost playing for the NC). The numbers show that RichRod has put together elite defenses before. Will it arrive or wil the fanbase lose patience? That, will we definitely know either way.