By Bob Hertzel
For the Times West Virginian
While West Virginia enjoyed a week off this week, Texas Christian did not enjoy an off week, being smothered by Oklahoma State, 36-14, on Saturday.
And now they must come to West Virginia.
“We are a tired team,” Coach Gary Patterson admitted, speaking on the weekly Big 12 coaches conference call. “We didn’t practice yesterday.”
It is a tired team, a hurt team.
“You only can do what you can do,” Patterson said, having lost three of four to fall to 2-3 in the Big 12 and 5-3 overall.
It isn’t like they are getting crushed. Two weeks ago, for example, Texas Tech beat them in triple overtime, 56-53.
But things are not as they might have been, their starting quarterback Casey Pachall having been dismissed for marijuana use and admitted to a rehabilitation center, leaving them without the quarterback they needed and playing a huge number of freshmen, even more than WVU has had to use.
“You play who you have,” Patterson said. “We have to get better at what we do.”
Trevone Boykin has taken over as a freshman quarterback for Pachall and shown promise.
“He did not play well last week on the road,” Patterson said. “We need him to play better, but still, we’re excited about where we’re headed and what we’re doing.”
They understand that they will be coming here Saturday just after the hurricane blew by ... at least that’s the weather report. Whatever the weather, Patterson is ready to play.
“We played Air Force where it was sleeting sideways and minus 6 in a night game once,” he noted. “We will bring heaters. You have to go play and get ready. We’re fortunate it will be an afternoon game.”
West Virginia spent its off week working hard on fundamentals Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as it tried to put things together after two consecutive losses, then did a lot of recruiting, mostly of junior college prospects across the country.
The fundamental was especially true on defense, where there have been huge problems.
“You have to take advantage of your practice opportunities,” Coach Dana Holgorsen said. “You get so caught up week to week in game planning, what your plan of action will be, you tend to forget a lot of the fundamental things and that’s ultimately how you improve, practicing the technique we ask these guys to play with.”
Texas Coach Mack Brown on media day said that Kansas State veteran coach Bill Snyder is the nation’s best coach.
Nothing has happened since to make him change his mind, as the Wildcats are No. 2 or 3 in the country.
“He’s done the best job of anyone in the country, and I have been on record since the day he left Iowa years ago to come to Kansas State he’s been the best coach in America,” Brown said.
Brown noted that he built K-State into a power, that he left and the program dipped only to have him return and bring them back into national prominence.
“You’ve got to give him credit for what he’s done. He was there and they were good, was gone and they weren’t, now he’s back and they are at the top,” Brown said.
Kansas Coach Charlie Weis has yet to win a Big 12 game this year, but they are pushing most opponents and came within 12 seconds of beating Texas last week.
It’s marked improvement, for sure, but not enough, according to the coach.
“There’s definitely things you can say — getting better here, getting better there. Still, it’s about winning, even if you play close and tough,” he said.
“Are there silver linings? Yes,” he continued. “But you lost a hundred in a row in the Big 12, you have to beat someone so you can move in that other direction.”
He thought he had that win against Texas.
“There’s no hiding it,” he said. “This was the most disappointed we have been all year. That was the feeling walking in the building for practice. I think by the time they left practice they had gotten that out of their system. You can’t spend too much time on Texas when you have Baylor coming up.”
Email Bob Hertzel at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.