Mountaineer offense ready to get back on track against Oklahoma State
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 00:11
If there’s one thing West Virginia knows for sure, it’s that losing three games in a row is tough. This week, as the team travels to Stillwater, Okla., to take on Oklahoma State, there is once again an emphasis on the mental aspect of the Mountaineers’ game plan.
Senior quarterback Geno Smith knows that things haven’t been going well lately, but it doesn’t mean he or his teammates can allow past transgressions to become future problems.
"It’s just about focusing on getting better (and) not losing focus on what the goal is, which is to win each and every game – not looking ahead and not looking behind and just getting better from week to week," he said.
Smith said that there’s no witchcraft key to overcoming a poor performance, only an increased desire to want to work harder.
"My only tactic is to get back to work, and that’s after a win or loss," he said. "Once the game is over, it’s over. There’s nothing you can do about it; you can’t go back."
Smith alluded to the team’s early successes and said that he is confident in the Mountaineers’ ability to score, and that mental assurance will go a long way toward earning a win Saturday.
"We just have to go out there on Saturday with the mentality that we are going to score. We have to be confident. We have to play fast, and we have to play hard," he said. "Things haven’t changed for us. I still think that we have a really good offense.
"We are making progress – working guys in and out of the rotation as far as receivers, backs and offensive linemen. We are going to have fresh bodies out there and are going to be ready to play," he said.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen stayed in line with the sentiments of his quarterback, adding that the coaches have to put the players in a position to win, both physically and mentally.
"It comes down to the effort being there. (Oklahoma State) play(s) with tremendous effort, so we have to play with tremendous effort," he said.
"I don’t want to put it all on the players. You can’t put it all on the players. Our job is to get them in the proper mindset to play determined, motivated and with tremendous effort and to get the right people out there and try to put them in the right situation," he said.
"At that point, hopefully we’ve coached our guys to be able to pull the trigger and make a play."
That additional boost of willpower is something offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said has to be present during the game.
"We have to be fired up to play the game, and we have to play with a little more desire and effort than we’ve been playing with," he said.
With the plethora of information that exists today, Dawson said there really is no fooling an opponent in college football, as both teams have a solid idea of what the other will do before taking the field.
Dawson acknowledged the predicament of execution and how, despite having a proper game plan, a lack of execution at the point of attack can be fatal.
"There might be a few wrinkles here and there on both sides. But as far as the course of the game goes, once the game settles in, it’s going to be no different than any other Big 12 game in my opinion," he said.
"There are certain factors and keys that give away stuff that everybody has, but in my opinion, all that stuff is just thrown out the door."
"The game of football – it’s still football. We can sit there and know everything we’re doing, but we’re still playing with 18-22 year old kids."