Adversity is positive going forward
Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 00:09
Classifying Saturday's game as a must-win for the Mountaineers may be a little bit too ambitious.
Granted, it is understandable to view head coach Dana Holgorsen's first road game and first game against a BCS conference program as a must-win of sorts, but to me, the more important thing to watch for is how the Mountaineers start the game.
As early as the season is, West Virginia has already faced a considerable amount of adversity.
With injuries, unpredictable weather delays and last week's horrid opening first half, the Mountaineers have had an opportunity to develop some crucial resiliency the past two weeks.
Coaches and players alike have acknowledged the fact you cannot replicate game experience. Likewise, adverse situations and how to respond to them, are best learned on game day – not on the practice field.
That's why I think what happened last week was a good thing for this team.
Every fan, player, coach and alumnus knows the potential outcomes this season holds. The expectations surrounding this squad reverberate throughout the state and beyond.
A prolific reputation for West Virginia's offense was built before it even took a snap.
The Norfolk State game helped answer a few pressing questions.
What happens when things aren't clicking like they did in practice? Who is going to step up and make a play when it's needed most? How would the team react to boos?
Ah yes, the dreaded boos. Maybe the players wouldn't admit it, but you know they had to have heard them.
Unanimous as they were unforgiving, the boos elicited from the three-and-outs that continued to pile up early would eventually be erased when junior quarterback Geno Smith showered the Norfolk State secondary with a myriad of passing feats.
But the fact is, the boos still happened.
Those boos will fuel the competitive fire this week, as they will serve as a constant reminder that offensive success isn't always free.
All week, the Mountaineers will practice with more vigor and focus than in the two previous weeks. Maryland will not go overlooked by a single member of the West Virginia program.
How will this last week's slow start affect this week's first quarter?
Will the team as a whole come out more prepared, with the mental fortitude to complete every task as required? Will another an adjustment period be necessary for players to get into full swing?
Ideally, the answers to those questions have already been gathered from last week's experience. For the future goals of this season to materialize, fast starts from this game forward are a necessity.
West Virginia must eliminate any doubt that they can't play a complete game; they must prove their ability to start strong, and they must do it this weekend against the Terrapins.
I hope the only thing out of the ordinary when the game starts are Maryland's uniforms.