West Virginia Opener Over Liberty: Have Faith
I'm afraid to say it and I won't like myself after I do, but...it's backpedalling time here in Charleston, West Virginia.
I don't like it. Generally, I do not favor second guessing myself. However, in the case of the West Virginia-Liberty game, I have to call it as I feel it. And, I don't feel warm and fuzzy about this one.
Openers with FCS schools are supposed to be an opportunity to establish the basic game plan and allow second and third teamers to get playing time.
That may not happen this weekend.
Don't be surprised if the Mountaineers and the Flames both throw shutouts in the first half.
There's a lot of inexperience on both teams.
Liberty's problem is the wreck graduation left on the team. The late Jerry Falwell's church school has developed a fine culture of winning, but there are a lot of guys from Lynchburg who haven't played much football.
West Virginia's difficulties stem from the lack of starting experience on the offensive line. Now, it's true that we sportswriters have worn this one out. But, I don't like the Charleston newspaper ink I've been reading about the o-line.
On the surface, the coaches are confident. As I go underneath on this one, I don't like all the switching around and experimenting that's going on this late in the preseason.
I know, I'm not a coach and I haven't seen these guys play, but last year our d-backs were supposed to meet Villanova coming off the bus and we ended up giving them ten yards and getting sliced and diced for 28.
I have the same sense this year.
Don't get me wrong...I'm not calling for a repeat of the incredible Appalachian State upset over Michigan. Our defense is way too solid for that and will by the end of the game preserve the shutout.
And, Jarrett Brown and Noel Devine are great athletes, they are winners that won't stay out of the end zone. It's just that the young offensive line will not make it that easy.
I see us running for three scores in the second half, probably two electrifying runs by Noel and one punched in by Jarrett.
The important thing here is to not get upset and start the boos and the catcalls. We'll ring up a 21-0 escape and move on to the party with East Carolina. It won't be pretty, but one thing will never change...
Mountaineer football is awesome!
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