The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

Sports

November 17, 2012

Sooners get another crack at WVU

MORGANTOWN — It may not reach the level the late West Virginia University coach Bill Stewart’s “Leave No Doubt” speech reached the last time the Mountaineers faced Oklahoma, as they do at 7 p.m. today at Milan Puskar Stadium, but present coach Dana Holgorsen is going to call on voices from the past to try to inspire his slumping team to victory.

Holgorsen has made phone calls to Bruce Irvin, Chris Neild, Julian Miller and, yes, Patrick White, who engineered that “Make No Doubt” upset in the Fiesta Bowl of 2008,and Jeff Hostetler, who engineered the other program-changing upset of the Sooners in 1982, and invited them to address the team.

“Coach Holgorsen sent me a text, and then called me,” White told the website WVU Pros, “asking if I were in Morgantown could I come and talk to the team. I said, I wasn’t at that time, but I will be there.”

White said that he and the others will address the team to “try to spark the flame,” just as Stewart did at the Fiesta Bowl when he went before a demoralized WVU team that had been upset by a four-touchdown underdog Pitt team when it stood on the doorstep of playing for the national championship.

 “We can out-block them. We can out-tackle them, We can out-hit ’em and out-hustle ’em.

“Don’t leave your wingman. Never, ever, ever bail out on your brother.

“Let ’em know. Leave no doubt tonight! Leave no doubt tonight! No doubt!

 “They shouldn’t have played the old gold and blue. Not this night! Not this night!”

And off they went to tear Oklahoma apart, 48-28, to save the program from what might have been total disaster after the Pitt loss and Rich Rodriguez’s exit, to earn Stewart the job he held until Holgorsen came long.

Now, Holgorsen has a team that looked like a national championship team, one that won its first five games and broke all kinds of offensive records in the process, a team that has crumbled as it faced its first Big 12 season.

Four losses in a row, a defense that already has given up more points than any other Mountaineer team with three regular-season games left, no bowl bid assured have put WVU at the edge of a cliff with as steep a fall as that Fiesta Bowl team faced.

And Oklahoma is probably the last team you would ask to face in such a situation.

Hungry for revenge, still in the hunt for the Big 12 title and a BCS bid, the Sooners are playing the best they have played this season.

“We are talking about a place that has won seven national championships and seven Big 12 championships, so they are used to winning,” Holgorsen said in discussing the challenge. “They have always been known for their defense. Coach Bob Stoops’ brother, Mike (Stoops), is back with them after being a head coach at Arizona for a while, but you can tell that it has made a difference.

“It has made a difference from a discipline, effort and scheme standpoint. They play with tremendous effort. They are very sound, and they are very physical. They are very talented. All those things exist with their defense.”

Mostly the defense is in one-on-one coverage, the Sooners hoping to take advantage of their great athleticism.

“It’s not complicated,” said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. “I call it ‘cat coverage. I’ve got this cat, you’ve got that cat.’”

And WVU’s offense is not what it was early in the season, Geno Smith being off in his normal accuracy over the past four games and having no running game to fall back on, the offensive line having deteriorated and the ability to convert on third and fourth down having diminished badly.

“We’ve not done a very good job of making plays when we had to make them,’’ Smith said during the week. “It seems like we made a lot of them earlier.’’

The offense Oklahoma offers is diverse and explosive, driven by senior quarterback Landry Jones, who would figure to have a huge day against one the nation’s leakiest pass defenses.

“Everything starts with their quarterback, Landry Jones. It seems like he has been there for six years. I remember him in high school, and he came out of New Mexico. He came to our camp, and he is a very talented, big kid with a great arm and is a winner,” Holgorsen said.

WVU’s struggles have been taxing.

“It is not a lot of fun for anybody,” Holgorsen said.

“It’s been a tough four-game roll, but we’re going to try to dig out of it,” Smith said.

All of this, plus what Holgorsen has determined to be a lack of grit and determination from some of his players, is why he called in the heroes of the past to speak.

Perhaps he should have ordered uniforms for them, too.

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