The 2011 edition of West Virginia University football is teetering on the brink of irrelevance.
And do not think the fans have not been warned, as in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 shots over the bow.
It’s bad, Mountaineer fans. No 5-star recruit, 95-play assistant coach, healed Geno Smith foot or the upcoming Bruce Irvin spring drill pancakes, however significant as they are, can keep this year’s shot from dropping its trajectory.
In sportswriter Mike Casazza’s March 3, 2011 piece in the Charleston (W. Va.) Daily Mail, head-coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen sat in his offensive coordinator’s office speaking with the talented Mr. Casazza of the changes WVU football would have to make to stay ahead of the curve.
The curve is Texas Christian University, otherwise known as the Big East bogey of 2012 and beyond.
As I read from Mr. Casazza’s article, the unspoken theme is “nothing is sacred,” such as weight rooms, computers and up to and including the action photographs of past West Virginia quarterbacks Patrick White and Jarrett Brown that adorn the wall.
The operative word here is “past.”
That takes me back to 2011’s campaign. I’m afraid this upcoming season, with head coach Bill Stewart and his self-proclaimed authorship of the philosophy of Mountaineer football, will be a 12-game walk down Memory Lane.
I enjoy the pregame video history on the big board of Milan Puskar Stadium as much as the next guy. Quincy Wilson’s wicked run against Miami…Owen Schmitt’s emotional proclamation of his devotion to West Virginia football…and the classic, Bill Stewart, in his prime, imploring the underdog Mountaineers to “leave no doubt!”
What we don’t see on the board? Back-to-back losses of 2010’s winnable games to Syracuse and Connecticut. Three bowls attended, two bowl failures. And West Virginia out of the Bowl Championship Series discussion for the third consecutive year.
They weren't all good, those 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons. And even if they were, this upcoming 2011 campaign is no time for reminiscence.
So, I leave you with these thoughts:
1. The Gospel, as read to Roman Catholics last Sunday, reminded those who listened that no person can serve two masters, here defined by Oliver Luck as a head coach and a head-coach-in-waiting.
2. As Carly Simon, an outstanding vocal artist in the 1970s, passed on to us, "These are the good ol’ days."
3. Bill Stewart is directionless in that he is liable to do almost anything, like three-step drop, five-step drop, spread option and, amazingly, the veer triple-option.
4. And lastly, it’s becoming obvious that Coach Holgorsen knows but one direction: forward.