Column - Patience is a virtue
Published: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Updated: Friday, November 11, 2011 02:11
This season hasn't exactly been going as planned for Mountaineer fans. First-year head coach Dana Holgorsen and his football team have lost two games in conference play and are currently on the outside looking in toward the Big East Championship.
Following a 5-1 start to the 2011 season, it appeared the Mountaineers would have few problems in a subpar Big East Conference and would travel to their third BCS bowl game in the last six years.
Since then, West Virginia has lost two of its last three games. In both losses, the Mountaineers were favored by two touchdowns.
After the recent lack of on-field success, I have heard many West Virginia fans utter such phrases as "Bring back Stew!" and "Fire Holgorsen."
Before we start putting the blame on the shoulders of Dana Holgorsen, let's first try to pinpoint what has been the cause of the on-field deficiency.
In the Mountaineers' six wins, the defense is only allowing 18.3 points per game whereas in West Virginia's three losses, it is allowing 44.6 points per game. It is extremely difficult to win games when your opposition is scoring nearly 45 points.
Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel is doing the best he can with what he has to work with.
The problems defensively are due to the inexperience. Seven players from last year's defense have spent time on NFL rosters in 2011.
There are too many players attempting to play an odd 3-3-5 stack alignment the likes of which they've never seen.
Through nine games, it has felt like the offense has also had its fair share of struggles – which it has.
But, Dana Holgorsen's unit is still tallying nearly 40 points per game and ranks No. 13 nationally in points scored.
Not to mention, Holgorsen has implemented an entirely new offensive system.
Could you imagine this year's offense combined with last year's defense that ranked No. 3 nationally in points allowed?
So, if Dana Holgorsen and Jeff Casteel aren't to blame for the underachievement, who is?
I have always been a firm believer that the 2007 West Virginia football team was one of the best teams in school history.
Former head coach Rich Rodriguez had great recruiting success and was able to generate superior talent at all positions.
But since Rodriguez's departure, this hasn't been the case.
The Mountaineers lack depth – and sometimes skill – at many essential positions.
They say you can judge a team's depth by the type of players who play special teams – which are usually the ones who fail to earn a starting spot on either offense or defense.
West Virginia's special teams has been one of the worst in the country.
With three games remaining this season, let's all take a step back and understand – Dana Holgorsen isn't a miracle worker.
He is doing the best he can with the resources at his disposal.