The Times West Virginian

Sports

September 9, 2013

WVU struggling to make plays

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University scored one touchdown against Oklahoma on Saturday in a 16-7 loss.

The Mountaineers could have scored more.

In fact, they should have scored more.

The tendency is to blame quarterback Paul Millard, who did not have a good game, but he is not alone.

“We had to make plays in opportunity situations. Against a defense like OU you can’t sit there and continually miss opportunities with open guys and expect to win,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson admitted.

Where does the blame lie, with Millard or with the receivers?

“I’d have a hard time saying right now,” Dawson said right after the game. “I’d have to go back and watch the film. If I had to make a comment on that it would be more that it was both at times. There were times when it was a bad throw. There were times when it was bad on the receiver’s part. We have to get together.”

There was, for example, a time when Ivan McCartney made a beautiful stop-and-go move and broke wide open for what would have been a touchdown, but he couldn’t handle the pass. Another time Daikiell Shorts went deep and was slightly underthrown by Millard but did not adjust back for the ball and had it tip off his fingertips.

There were other times when Millard overthrew receivers, finishing with 21 of 41 completions for 218 yards in what could have been much more.

“We let the defense down as great as they played tonight,” Millard admitted. “I missed throws. There’s a lot of things that are going to be hard to watch (on the tape).”

It does no good, of course, to play the blame game.

“A lot of the blame goes around. I mean, you get that many opportunities against a good defense, you have to make plays,” Dawson said. “We had about four or five today where we had open guys with opportunities and either we didn’t make a good throw or if we did make a good throw we didn’t make a play.”

For the second straight week there wasn’t much gain after the catch.

“I was on the guys about picking up their feet and getting some yards after catch and yards after contact,” coach Dana Holgorsen admitted.

One guy who showed up big time was Kevin White, playing his first game after missing the opener with a foot injury, yet even he had an untimely fumble trying to make a big play that cost a scoring opportunity.

“You know Kevin White finally started doing some things,” Holgorsen said. “He had the fumble, which was devastating, but he did catch the ball and slip a tackle here and there. We need more of that.”

Four turnovers killed the offense, leading someone to check in with Dawson on how to eliminate the turnovers.

“You stress it every single day. We stress it. We stress it,” he said, repeating for effect. “We watch film and point out good ball security, bad ball security. We do ball-security drills. I don’t know any other way to do. It has to mean something to them.

“For the last two games we haven’t done a good job of protecting the football, so we’re going to continue to stress it until we get what we want.

“We have talented kids,” Dawson continued. “They’re just inexperienced and young. You go into an environment like this, and you don’t know how those kids are going to respond. Obviously, we didn’t respond very well today. We had opportunities to win the football game. We were in the game. That’s a positive thing.

“Now these guys got to grow up and start making plays. We have to grow a tough skin and get tougher.”

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

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Pirates’ slide continues in 2-1 loss to Cincinnati

    The Pittsburgh Pirates are five games under .500 less than a month into the season but they insist there is no reason to panic.
    Ryan Ludwick lined a two-run double after two Cincinnati batters were hit by pitches, lifting Tony Cingrani and the Reds over the Pirates 2-1 on Thursday.

    April 25, 2014

  • Morgan Hoke -ts.jpg Polar Bear tennis sweeps East: PHOTOS

    Last week East Fairmont’s girls’ tennis team beat Fairmont Senior, 4-3.
    Wednesday at Fairmont State University, the Polar Bears returned the favor with a 5-2 win over their cross-town rival.
    Alissa Link won No. 1 singles, 8-4. Morgan Hoke won No. 3 singles, 9-7. And Avery Towns won No. 4 singles, 8-5, for the Polar Bears.

    April 24, 2014 8 Photos

  • Falcons set for spring game

    Football is back … well, kind of.
    Today at 7 p.m., Fairmont State will hold its annual Maroon & White spring game at Duvall-Rosier Field. The scoreboard won’t mean a whole lot since it’s little more than a glorified scrimmage. Instead, here are five things to watch during today’s game.

    April 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age

    The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
    “There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”

    April 24, 2014

  • Hillberry commits to Wesleyan

    Last year Emma Harrison and Kaitlyn Conaway teamed up with Alexis Hillberry to win several relay medals at the state track meet.
    Though the two West Virginia Wesleyan runners are now in college, they helped to pass the baton to Hillberry Wednesday when she signed her National Letter of Intent to join her former teammates on the Bobcats’ track team.

    April 24, 2014

  • O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall

    Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.

    April 24, 2014

  • North, East softball earn blowout wins

    The North Marion softball team was at it again Wednesday night.
    Mattie Polling tripled and singled, starting pitcher Chelsi Latocha doubled and gave up just one hit as the Huskies rolled to another 3-inning mercy-rule victory over Lewis County, 18-1.

    April 24, 2014

  • Simon, Bruce lead Reds past Bucs, 5-2

    Alfredo Simon pitched into the seventh inning despite erratic control, Jay Bruce drove in a run for a fifth consecutive game and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Wednesday night.
    Simon (3-1) worked 6 2-3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four.

    April 24, 2014

  • Pens squander lead, fall to Columbus

    Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno’s wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

    April 24, 2014

  • FSHS #32, 29-BU #15-TS.jpg Cousins Sansalone, Craig lead Polar Bears past B-U: PHOTOS

    They say you don’t mess with family. Buckhannon-Upshur found that one out the hard way.

    April 23, 2014 7 Photos

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos