Identity Crisis: West Virginia
West Virginia started the year with a 5-0 start to begin the 2012 season and looked like one of the most dangerous teams in the country on offense. Geno Smith was flying all over the field. The Mountaineers went down to Austin and defeated Texas 48-45 in a shootout.
The next week, West Virginia was blown out by Texas Tech 49-14 and a downward spiral saw the Mountaineers fall in five consecutive games before sneaking out a win against Iowa State.
This season, West Virginia is last in the Big 12 in scoring offense after tallying just 18 points per game through four games played. The Mountaineers have been embarrassed by Maryland in a 37-0 rout in Baltimore, a showing in Oklahoma that looked like they had a defensive improvement and then of course an escape against William & Mary to open the year with a 24-17 come-from-behind win.
The Mountaineers committed six turnovers in its game against Maryland and mustered only 175 yards of total offense for its first doughnut on the scoreboard since a defeat against Virginia Tech on Oct. 6, 2001.
After the game, a frustrated, defeated and confused looking Dana Holgorsen spoke to the media and didn’t have any answers.
“Offensively, we’re as inept as we can possibly be in college football,” Holgorson said.”
WVU sits seventh in the conference in total offense per game, averaging under 400 yards at 393.8 per game. That puts the Mountaineers just slightly behind Kansas State, who lost to FCS opponent North Dakota State, and just ahead of Iowa State, TCU and Kansas — all offenses that have not started the season yet.
Holgorsen said that he would be continuing to stick with his quarterback he listed as the starter against Maryland, red-shirt freshman Ford Childress.
Childress threw a pick-six to begin scoring against Maryland, not the kind of scoring you want to start with. Childress threw for 62 yards overall.
Childress would watch the fourth quarter from the sidelines while the other option, Clint Trickett, came out of the bullpen to pick up some mop up duty.
Holgorsen, however, pointed to the play of his offensive line for the woes visited on Saturday.
“When they have five people in the box and we can’t get a yard, it’s going to cause a problem,” Holgorsen said. “I thought we were going to be able to run the ball.”
Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith have each combined to break into the conference’s top 10 list in rushing yards. Sims has averaged 82 yards while Smith has put up 62.8. However, the pair have managed four touchdowns overall and WVU has just five on the ground.
The schedule does not help West Virginia either. There are no answers coming in the short weeks. Big 12 favorite Oklahoma State comes to town after a week off before West Virginia travels to the hottest team in the league, Baylor, on Oct. 5.
West Virginia gets some reprieve with a bye on Oct. 12, but then Texas Tech takes a visit to Morgantown.
The three contests could prove to be ugly losses for the Mountaineers.
An identity may still be on the lost and found posters come Oct. 26, when WVU travels to Kansas State.