The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 25, 2012

WVU working hard to fix problems

MORGANTOWN — Great coaches aren’t made happy by victory.

Oh, given the option of victory or defeat, they take victory, but mostly they are looking at other things than fans.

They are like artists, less interested in the final product than the method of getting there.

To the great ones, the process is as important as the result, and that is why Bob Huggins, even after his recent victories, has been less than thrilled, for his team has simply won two games because it had better talent, not because it played the game the way it has to be played to win once the Big 12 play comes around.

He described what’s happening in a way people from this area would understand, in terms of football, considering the ties that exist to not only Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers but to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“We’re like a QB who makes the first look and that’s it. He’s not very successful. He’s not a very good quarterback. We’ll look at the first option and we won’t look at 2-3-4. That’s what Da’Sean and those guys got so good at doing,” he said.

“I feel like I’m running around and sticking all my fingers and toes in the dam. It’s hard to fix everything at once.”

He needs victories, yes, but he’s looking for improvement, and that is what’s frustrating him.

After beating Radford last Saturday, the question was posed to him if he felt his team had been improving in its halfcourt offensive sets and the way it ran them.

“I don’t know,” he began. “We changed some things we thought would kind of accentuate the things our guys are good at doing. I think it helped Juwan Staten. It obviously didn’t help some of those other guys we thought it would help.”

Proof?

“We turned it over 17 times. That’s not very good,” he offered.

But it was the defense that really frustrated him, that always frustrated him, for he is No. 1 a defensive coach and strives for the perfection that he will never get.

Yes, he admitted, that the team’s 1-3-1 zone had been a factor in the victory, but ...

“I thought we did a pretty good job in the 1-3-1. We stayed in our lanes pretty well. And then at the end we got our middle guy out guarding the wing, which is what happens to us,” he said. “We’ve got to get better defensively. With the way we play defensively it’s hard, because we get spread out.”

And when they get spread out the opponent can work on the WVU post players, get them into foul trouble, take advantage of them.

“The best way to protect our big guys is to guard the ball. It elongates those passing lanes and makes the post feed so much harder,” he said.

All of this is bothering Huggins so much that he wasn’t even upset over the fact that less than 8,000 people showed up for Radford. In the past he might have prepared a lecture for the fans, for in Cincinnati they did fill up the place even when the students were gone.

But Huggins has other things on his mind.

“I have a tendency to try to motivate the fans in years where I don’t have to try to motivate my players as much. Know what I mean? I’m a big believer in history. You get too spread out you get beat, so I’m trying to concentrate on what I’m trying to do.”

The result is that his substitution patterns are not being dictated by what he’s trying to do, but more by what he’s trying to fix.

Speaking to the media, he gave out a long, involved dissertation on why the curls that Radford were running worked and how that had forced him to play every scholarship player on the bench in the first seven minutes of the game.

What it came down to, though, was Huggins was simply looking for someone to do it right.

“The first guy doesn’t do it, so I take him out. I told the second guy when I put him in, and he doesn’t do it. So I put the third guy in, and he gave up a layup on the other side of the basket, because the guy ran all the way around and got a layup,” he said.

Hence, the long string of substitutions, not for what they could do but for what the player they were replacing wasn’t doing.

The Mountaineers are now off until they come back Sunday when Eastern Kentucky comes in to play at the Coliseum against a refreshed WVU team back from Christmas break.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU faithful again have a reason to root against Vick

    It would be one final indignation, that’s what it would be if Michael Vick were to beat out Geno Smith and win the starting quarterback job with the New York Jets.

    April 23, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads