WVU Football Closer To The Penthouse Than The Outhouse

Conrad KrasykContributor IApril 8, 2009

Patient is defined as bearing "pains or trials calmly or without complaint; or not hasty or impetuous". We as die-hard sports fans of our favorite teams need to practice the art of patience a lot more than the art of the knee-jerk reaction. 

Case in point—Yours truly wrote an article some five months ago declaring the West Virginia football program was headed from the penthouse to the outhouse.  It was most definitely a knee-jerk reaction to a slow start from a team that had very high expectations from the national media and a crazy fan base. 

Throughout the 2008 football season, bloggers, callers, and water cooler sports writers (me included) were spouting off that the athletic department and the university's administration at West Virginia reacted emotionally after a huge upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, and was pressured to give interim head coach Bill Stewart the full-time gig. 

Many of us proclaimed that coach Stewart was just not able to keep the program at the high level it had reached under former coach Rich Rodriguez, and that if something wasn't done quickly, we would once again be subject to mediocre performances.

Fast forward back to present day and now let's take a look at the program. 

I must be the first to apologize to coach Stewart, the staff, players, and fans, for the article I wrote five months ago just simply is not true. Coach Stewart has put together what I believe to be best coaching staff we have ever had at WVU.

Because he is not ego-driven, Stewart has once again put the team in position to strive for the penthouse, which would, of course, a shot to play in the BCS National Championship game. 

Prove it, you say? OK, I will state my case.

The 2008 season ended with Pat White showing us that offensive coordinator Jeff Mullens' passing game was the real deal and that defenses would now have to prepare not only for our running game, but for a proficient pass attack. 

You will not doubt counter that White is gone, and it's true he has now graduated and moved on, but you forget that fifth-year senior Jarret Brown is now ready to lead this team. 

Brown is a proven winner in must-win situations (helped WVU beat Rutgers in 3OTs in 2007) and has both the legs and arm to keep the attack going. 

While the offensive line will need some time to gel, I believe that it will once again pave the way for 1,000-yard rusher Noel Devine.

The defense, which allowed only 17 points per game last year, returns eight starters from last season, along with redshirt senior Reed Williams (Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP) and four-star JUCO transfer Tevita Finua to anchor what could be the best defense in the school's proud history.

Of course, there are question marks as this season opens, and by no means am I saying that this year's team is ready to play for a national championship, but WVU is in a better position to reach "the penthouse" of college football. 

This years recruiting class is ranked 27th in the country by Rivals.com and is ranked as the best recruiting class in the Big East Conference. This class only got stronger with the addition of Eugene Smith from Mirmar, Fla., the No. 3-ranked dual threat QB in the country. 

For all the nay sayers who said this staff would never be able to recruit the talent needed to succeed, just look at some of the four-star recruits that have signed to play at WVU: Finua, Smith, Logan Heastie, Tavon Austin, Deon Long, and Stedmon Bailey. 

There is no doubt that a bright future lies ahead in Morgantown.

With that, I say thank you to WVU Director of Athletics Ed Pastalong, former WVU president Dr. Wayne Garrison, and West Virginia Govenor Joe Manchin III for all having the wisdom to see coach Stewart's integrity, enthusiasm, and desire, and to bring him back to ensure Mountaineer fans had a team they could be proud of for years to come.