Many, many thoughts about this tough loss. Most bad, but first a couple of sun-came-up-the-next-morning, not-so-bad ones:
- If WVU wins out, it still wins the Big East title.
- There were no new serious injuries.
Umm, that's it. Now onto the bad thoughts:
- I think I speak for every Mountaineer fan when I ask: WHAT IS IT ABOUT SOUTH FLORIDA? They're almost impossible to be beat, and nearly bullet-proof in Tampa. Clearly, this team is somehow inside WVU's head. Is it their fast players? Is it Raymond James Stadium? I can't, for the life of me, believe Jim Leavitt is a brilliant tactician. WHAT IS IT?
- How is it that WVU could just walk down the field on the first drives of each half, and then not again? The first drive, especially, was effortless.
- Wes Lyons officially joins the list of Worst Mountaineer Football Players Ever, which includes Perlo Bastien, John Talley, and Mike Timko. When Lyons let the pass go through his hands—which would have converted 4th-and-28—he had his customary blank-eyed, "Oh, we're losing? I had something to do with it? Whatever. Can I come back to the bench now?" look. Why does he even play football? He sure doesn't seem like he likes it, or cares what happens.
- If I'm recalling correctly, this game at South Florida essentially ended the same way the last game at South Florida ended: With an incomplete pass on fourth down. This one, a good pass right through the hands of Lyons, that one, a bad pass at the feet of Dorrell Jalloh.
- Wasn't South Florida the worst run defense in the Big East? Huh.
- Coach Stewart has spent all his time as head coach remaking the offense so it couldn't get stuffed by South Florida. He remade it, and it worked—up until it faced South Florida.
- The pass defense is getting worse, not better. Stewart himself said the receiver that kept beating Keith Tandy, "is better than him". I don't fault Tandy. He was a high school quarterback, not a cornerback, which is the hardest position to play on defense. I hope this will end WVU's experiments with recruiting quarterbacks, and trying to turn them into cornerbacks. The success this far has been mixed at best. Tandy is a flop, Nate Sowers is a flop and B. Hogan is, to put it kindly, inconsistent. You need to recruit cornerbacks to play cornerback.
- The Mountaineers had another red-zone turnover.
- I know the offensive line was facing the two best rush ends in the Big East, but the staff made no adjustments (two tight ends? blocking backs left in?) to help the offensive line, which was overmatched on pass protection, and run blocking.
- Reed Williams' career as an every-down player is, sadly, over, Stewart said during his Sunday conference call. He can play some downs, but thanks to his extensive injuries—foot, knee; his surgically repaired shoulders are acting up again—he has been sadly reduced to a role-player. And after what he's given to this team—literally, his body—I feel bad for him. Oh, and by the way, Scooter Berry? Thanks for popping off to the cops. Nice one. Really helps the team.
- Saturday can't get her fast enough for anyone—fans, players, you name it. How WVU handles cellar-dwelling Louisville will tell us something about this team.
- Finally: This team is still 6-2. It has a chance for a very good season. Not a great chance, admittedly, especially after seeing what Cincinnati and Pitt did to South Florida, and watching Cincy's backup quarterback make Syracuse look silly on Saturday, but a chance nonetheless.