As I have been telling people for a week, the Mountaineer defense is quickly coming together. The key to this defense has definitely been the return of linebacker Reed Williams. He has been the missing link. They are starting to hit people and make big plays, and they are going to be a force to be reckoned with the rest of the season!
The secondary is certainly starting to show the talent that we heard about during fall camp. Brandon Hogan, Robert Sands, and Ellis Lankster are hitting people and closing the gap on receivers in a hurry. I look for them to start pulling down some key interceptions.
And to all of you who have been griping about the coaching staff: Before the season is over, you will be singing their praises! Coach Bill Stewart has assembled an excellent staff, and they are starting to show how good they can be!
Don’t let the good old boy, nice guy image fool you! Coach Stewart is a tough guy. He is more than willing to shoulder the blame for the team’s early failures. This man knows how to coach! He also knows how to share the credit when he wins, and trust me: Bill Stewart will win!
Offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen also displayed the qualities that made him a success at Wake Forest. He has transformed Pat White into more than just a one-dimensional player. Despite leaving early in the game, Pat White completed 17 of 21 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
The offense is starting to fire on all cylinders. On the Mountaineers’ first possession, they marched 76 yards on a nine-play drive and scored using a great mix of passing and running plays. The drive was capped off with a four-yard touchdown run by Noel Devine.
For lack of a better word, Noel was divine! The sophomore had an excellent game, rushing for 127 yards on 14 carries. On one play after running into heavy traffic, Noel reversed his field and made a huge gain from nothing. The kid is amazing to watch. Despite the fact that he appears small, his speed and strength are simply incredible.
True freshman running back Mark Rodgers is going to be a star for this Mountaineer squad. After arriving at camp late in fall practice, Rodgers is still learning our system. However, the talent and raw skills that he possesses are readily apparent when he is carrying the football.
Everything about this game screamed, “Upset!” However, it’s still not easy being green. West Virginia showed some real character and manhandled a solid Thundering Herd team, keeping their winning streak over Marshall intact.
This team is coming together just as they start the conference schedule. I see them winning the next two weeks leading up to the game with Auburn.