Smith, WVU offense pressing when faced with early deficits
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 08:10
For the second straight week, the West Virginia offense never got the opportunity to take the field with a lead. Trailing early in games usually doesn’t pose great cause for concern, but as Saturday night showed, when the opposing team is scoring on every drive, it could potentially cause additional pressure on the offense to perform.
West Virginia offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson agrees with that notion; the second-year coach said the Mountaineers are suffering from pressing too much early in games, and it is leading to a variety of other problems that did not exist before.
"We just have to do a better job of just being efficient and being accurate and putting the ball in play," he said.
"I think a lot of it comes down to just pressing – we just have to go out there and just execute the offense like it’s nobody in the stadium and nothing is on the line, and that’s what it comes down to."
Dawson also said that irrespective of what the defense does, the offense has the opportunity to never trail if it can play the way it is intended to.
"We can choose not to fall behind if we don’t want to; if we want to go out there and answer (the opponent), we can," he said.
"Every time they either score or punt, we get the ball, and we can choose to have our own destiny right there. I’m not a psychologist, but we’re going to try and evaluate the whole group on what we’ve done.
"We have to move the ball, and we can’t sit there and try to score on every single play because that’s not the way it works," he said.
Senior quarterback Geno Smith echoed Dawson’s sentiments when he said he and the rest of the offense can’t worry about what the defense does; instead, the offense must focus on performing its job – to score points.
"Those guys scored points? So what? We have to go out there and match it, and that’s our job as an offense," he said.
"We can’t worry about what’s going on with the defense; we have to worry about ourselves, and first thing’s first, I have to make sure that I am remaining focused and not getting caught up in the scoreboard and not pressing and not trying to get it all back in one play."
Smith said he was pleased with the offense’s effort, noting that the 55-14 loss to Kansas State wasn’t for lack of trying.
"I think we had a good job with effort," he said. "I think guys were mentally ready to play, but I just think from time to time, one guy made a lapse here, or if it wasn’t me making a mistake, it was someone else that made a mistake. And as an offense, we all have to play together for this thing to work."
The past two weeks, West Virginia has taken a hit in its confidence because of the lopsided nature of the pair of losses. Among other things, head coach Dana Holgorsen said improving the team’s confidence is on the top of his staff’s agenda.
"The mental aspect of reaching your team is always a challenge," Holgorsen said. "But we’ve got to get their confidence back and the only way you can do that is by bringing them in and talking to them and getting them out there in practice and working on some specific things."
"You’ve got to take them one at a time. We play in a good league, and everybody understands that; we got off to kind of a hot start, but we had some issues that a pretty good Texas Tech team and a real good Kansas State team exposed a little bit."