WVU Football: Did Marshall Give Clues to Potential Struggles with Maryland?
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You mean Marshall let us in on the difficulties West Virginia would have with Maryland?
In a word?
Too many analysts and fans were too quick to gloss over the game with Marshall and the fact that a middle of the road Conference USA team held the Orange Bowl Champions' offense to 55 points while ringing up one more than Clemson.
If that's not enough, the arguments of A) "Well, West Virginia played thirty defenders that day," and B) "You know, we could have ripped The Herd for 100 if Dana Holgorsen wanted to," now officially collapse under their own weight after a well-coached yet not-really-so-talented Maryland team scared the beejeebees out of Mountaineers everywhere.
To those of you who didn't already know, and I may have been among you, it's now obvious that Holgorsen's Air Raid needs artillery support. That includes running the ball for more than 1.00 yards per carry and also blocking more than occasionally, perhaps.
Geno Smith is a stout man with some footspeed, but he's not out there to run for his life, or to run at all. In fact, if you wire the brain of Dana Holgorsen to an EEG during the game, you might find some neurons somewhere near his hypothalamus literally exploding when his Heisman candidate tucks the ball and takes off.
It is that scary.
I can now say that Geno Smith really did have a great day as a quarterback, especially considering there were effectively no running backs in gray jerseys on the field picking up Maryland's blitzes. It especially looked that way when the WVU running backs essentially disappeared whenever Randy Edsall called for hot linebacker blitzes with two down linemen.
Roll the tape, Big 12.
I saw that as clearly as I saw Geno sacked for the first time this season, then a second time, an occurrence that should not have happened until the Texas game.
Speaking of the Texas game, West Virginia has to play Baylor first and that's not really good either. Art Briles's Bears showed a lot of guts escaping the snakepit that is Monroe, Louisiana, as a tough ULM team took them for a frightening ride, like one of those freefalls at amusement parks, over and over.
I know some of you Mountaineer fans aren't amused with me right now. I'm a fan, but sorry, folks, I'm not a homer. I take what I write seriously, and I'm not about to write that everything is okay just because I want it to be.
I hope I'm wrong, but I think, as I said in an earlier article, WVU will most likely go into its October 27th break with a 5-2 record, probably losing to Texas and to Kansas State.
However, from there I see West Virginia working out the kinks and coming back in November to finish the conference 7-2. That could be good because with the right position and the right tiebreakers, 7-2 just might win the Big 12 Conference.
That means if the Mountaineers get it together in October and win in Austin or beat a surprising (surprising? really?) Kansas State team, that's 8-1 and that could win the league outright.
I can see that happening.
I'll repeat that: I can see that happening.
I attended an awesomely beautiful wedding in Pittsburgh during the fourth quarter of the game with Maryland. As a Roman Catholic, the wedding mass just completely chokes me up. I turned to the folks in my pew and said, "All right. Fair warning. I'm going to get emotional."
The father of the bride, a man I've known for a few years, a man who loves his wife and three daughters dearly, found the time a couple of hours after walking the oldest down the aisle to check with me about Geno Smith.
All I had to do was tell him about Geno's formidable statistics and it was the second best thing to happen to him that day. Geno, you see, was on his fantasy team this weekend.
Well, he was after all the father of the bride and wrote the check and was ecstatic anyway, but thankfully he didn't watch the game because in fantasy college football land only the statistical results matter. It doesn't matter that every one of West Virginia's plays, offense and defense, was much worse than pulling teeth, but more like the average sportswriter benchpressing my weight after every snap.
To close on an uptick, great teams win despite being challenged by an opponent playing its best and also challenged by the team itself doing everything possible to lose.
West Virginia football 2012 has the players and coaches to be a great team. In the next nine games, we shall see.
One at a time.
Hit the film room, gentlemen.
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