The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

Sports

November 18, 2013

Mountaineers now at ‘all-time low’

MORGANTOWN — The real world in which West Virginia football now exists is not a pleasant place to be.

“I guess this would be an all-time low,” Coach Dana Holgorsen said after Saturday’s 31-19 loss at Kansas eliminated West Virginia from bowl contention.

No Rose Bowl, no Fiesta or Orange or even Pinstripe Bowl.

No fancy sunglasses or sweet sweat suits as bowl booty. No midnight room service and no trips to SeaWorld.

That’s for the winning teams.

“We’ll have a lot of coaches and players sitting at home over the holidays and say, ‘Boy, everybody on TV’s having a good time going to a bowl game. Sure would be nice to do that,’” Holgorsen said. “But what do you do? You work harder. You recruit better. You stay the course. You develop your players. You buy in.”

All of that is true, of course, but by saying it you are also saying you don’t believe that this year they did buy in, be it the players or the coaches, and one suspects that might get some argument from within.

What happened to West Virginia this year didn’t have anything to do with buying into the program.

The players tried. They tried hard.

They cared, too.

The problems were different. They were running a quarterback-heavy system while being light on quarterbacks.

That’s not even opinion. It has proven out over the year for whatever reason, right from the start when no one really stood out and grasped the position.

Add quarterbacks not yet ready to take over the system to wide receivers with virtually no experience, and the situation was just wrong to do what Holgorsen likes to do.

Then you had a year where the defense started off giving hope but as the intensity of the opposition increased, so, too, did the points against column, the scores mounting as one player after another went down with injury until the defense really didn’t have much hope of holding anyone under 30 points ... not even Kansas.

The Texas game actually had become WVU’s Alamo.

A season worth of frustration was on the line in that game, a victory that they seemed to have won and would have saved pride and given hope for the future.

When they let it slip away, it sapped meaning from the remainder of the season.

“This week was just a little off,” junior college transfer wide receiver Kevin White remarked honestly after the game. “It was a big loss when we played Texas — we should have won that game. Then we come in here and like, ‘Aw, we’re playing Kansas.’”

An easy opening drive to a touchdown, rather than lighting a fire, created a comfort level that was the worst thing that could have happened.

The edge was gone and never would come back.

What they learned was exactly what they should have known about because it was the same in the Oklahoma State game, when the Cowboys came in as huge favorites over WVU, scored early on a 73-yard pass, then never could regain the edge as WVU fought the underdog battle and won.

This time the cleat was on the other foot and it was Kansas who shook off the early score and went on to win, leaving WVU nothing more than a wounded warrior to head into the offseason.

Does it get better next year?

Maybe. Probably a better chance next year than in two weeks, when they close out the season against Iowa State at home in a game that doesn’t hold much fan attraction, especially with the students gone over Thanksgiving holiday.

“Where we go from here, I don’t know,’’ Holgorsen said after Saturday’s loss. “I was planning on going to a bowl game, but now we’ll go back and do what we always do. We’ve got to evaluate where we’re at.

“Everything falls on me. You can’t just sit there and snap your fingers and fix it. You’ve got to keep building your program, and we’ve been doing that now going on a whole year. It’s just not where it needs to be.”

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • University hands Huskies first loss; East edges Elkins

    The mercy rule has been a familiar part of North Marion’s softball season.
    Through the first seven games, the Huskies regularly pounded their opponents with stingy defense, sharp pitching and timely hitting. Rarely did a game go all seven innings for the previously undefeated team.

    April 17, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 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

  • Pirates shut out by Reds’ Cueto, 4-0

    Johnny Cueto was on his game, and the only thing that the Pirates could do was watch.
    Cueto pitched his third career shutout against the team that beat him in the NL wild card game, and Joey Votto hit a two-run homer that led the Cincinnati Reds over the Pirates 4-0 Wednesday for their first winning series this season.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • COLUMN: Extend summer practices without over-extending athletes

    Last week we told you about a proposal that would extend the summer practice period for West Virginia high schools.
    It’s already cleared the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Board of Control. Now it’s up to the West Virginia Board of Education to decide if the current three-week window should be expanded by five weeks.

    April 16, 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

  • Pirates finish off suspended game, fall in nightcap

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole’s winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos