The Times West Virginian

WVU 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
WVU Sports
  • 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

  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    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

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 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

  • 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

  • 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

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos