I've been a major proponent of West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart, but now is the time to reconsider my position. Not change, mind you. I'm not going to join the Fire Bill Stewart blog, but I will seriously look at the next card.
Don't necessarily show coach Stew the door, but tell him what it looks like. Describe it to him, in great detail. Remind him of what awaits him if, like Aldous Huxley and Jim Morrison and the doors of perception, he breaks on through to the other side.
While you're at it, fill him in on the fact that West Virginia University football is a substantial business, that the school needs the revenue. Make sure he understands the tremendous investment Milan Puskar is. The seats need to be sat upon.
Winning, and the promise of more winning, will put the butts on the bleachers.
I had the extreme and rare pleasure of speaking with Don Nehlen during my one singular visit to a luxury box for the 2003 Cincinnati game. Among other things, coach Nehlen told me that he knew the game was going to be a successful one when the four top corners were filled.
That day, the corners were packed. The Mountaineers lost a tough one, and the fans left disappointed, but the promise remained. Two years later, West Virginia won the Sugar Bowl, finishing fifth in the final national polls.
Now, I look to the horizon of WVU football and I don't see the wins and I don't see the promise. I don't see coaches who will use their assets to the best benefit of the team.
I see quarterback Jarrett Brown left out there naked with no coach showing him how to go through his progressions before he takes off like a banshee out of hell.
I see, along with other knowledgeable fans, that the obvious way to beat South Florida and Cincinnati was to ram the ball between the tackles. I saw Ryan Clarke laying the leather on linebackers and safeties...but only for a couple of plays until the coaches decided to attempt to dribble the smallest backs through the line.
I see NFL quality wideouts being squandered by the coaches who can't tell the man with the gun for an arm how to find them.
I see little to no pass rush. I saw blitzes early in the season, but not now.
I see coaches failing to effectively compensate for weak corners by rolling safeties over, leaving the crossing route open and providing no run defense support.
And, worse, I don't see any of this improving before Friday's Backyard Brawl and especially next season and following seasons.
Success in the next three games, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and the bowl game, one at a time, is most critical to the future of football in Morgantown. The boosters must get involved. They must impress upon Bill Stewart that any season with fewer than 10 wins is completely unacceptable.
It's too late for Mountaineer pride and good, old-fashioned West Virginia football. We're beyond out-blocking, out-tackling, and out-hitting.
It's time to deliver.