West Virginia Football: Is Jeff Mullen's Offense Improving?

Jeff Woollard@JeffWoollardCorrespondent IINovember 22, 2010

Offensive Coordinator Jeff Mullen
Offensive Coordinator Jeff Mullen

With Saturday’s win, the West Virginia University football team secured their ninth winning season in a row. Bill Stewart’s charges also secured win number 26 for their head coach.

Bill Stewart’s road record improved to 6-8 with the victory.

The WVU offense could only manage three points in the second half against Louisville. The Mountaineer defense won the game, again.

Since WVU’s dramatic comeback against Marshall in its second game of the season the Mountaineers have only managed to score ten points in the fourth quarter or overtime.

Of those ten points, three were against Maryland in the third game and seven were against the University of Nevada Las Vegas in the fifth game. WVU has failed to score a point in the fourth quarter in six of its games this year.

The Mountaineer offense has not scored a point in the fourth quarter or overtime in five straight games. Over that same five game span, the Mountaineers have only scored 16 points in the second half.

On Friday, the WVU football team will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers from the University of Pittsburgh. The annual “Backyard Brawl” will highlight two of the best defenses in the country.

The Mountaineer defense enters the contest ranked fourth in total defense on the year. Many are beginning to proclaim the 2010 WVU defense as the best that has ever played in Morgantown, and rightfully so.

The Panthers own the number 12 best defense in the FBS entering the game. It is against that defense, on its home field, that the Mountaineer offense must find a way to score enough points to allow its defense to win the game.

The game on Friday is shaping up to be a hard fought defensive struggle. A throwback, if you will, to the days of old when a stout defense was preferable to a prolific offense.

WVU cannot maintain its second half-scoring average of the last eight games, 5.9 points; the Mountaineers may not come out of Pittsburgh with a victory if they do. A victory over Pittsburgh could equal the Big East football title and the associated BCS bowl birth.

Further frustrating an angry fan base is the Mountaineers’ penchant for giving the opposition points through turnovers.

Failing to score points is certainly a problem, continuing to compound that problem by giving up turnovers that equate to points for the opposition is excruciating.

The WVU defense would be the top ranked defense in the FBS if not for the offense’s habit of giving the football to the opponent in scoring position.

On Friday, Jeff Mullen the offensive coordinator at WVU has the opportunity to quiet his critics. The scoring woes that have plagued his offense in the second half of games this season cannot continue.

Mullen must make the necessary adjustments to the adjustments the opposing defense is making. The football team’s future is riding on his ability.

Bill Stewart referred to the beauty of the mountains of West Virginia in his post game press conference at Louisville.

Should Mullen’s offense fail to generate points against the Panthers on Friday, the beauty of those mountains is not what Mullen will notice, it will be the weight of those mountains.