Season Report Card: West Virginia Mountaineers
It was a difficult transition for West Virginia to move on from Smith and playmakers like Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, as it struggled to top FCS William & Mary, was shutout by Maryland 37-0, and fell to Kansas (!!!) and Iowa State in back-to-back-games to end the season.
Judging by these grades, it’s a wonder how Holgorsen was able to keep the remaining strands of hair that lay on top of his head:
When quarterback Clint Trickett announced he was transferring from Florida State to West Virginia, I thought this offense was going to be just fine. I thought wrong. Trickett never looked comfortable in Holgorsen’s system, completing 52.8 percent of his passes and splitting his touchdown-interception ratio at seven apiece. He went in and out with Paul Millard and Ford Childress, who were both evenly inefficient and looked just as dazed and confused. Houston transfer Charles Sims was the lone bright spot, rushing for 1,095 yards and 11 touchdowns—and had the passing game been a little better, those statistics would be far more inflated. In 2012, the Mountaineers scored 39.5 points per game—good for 9th in the nation. This year, they scored 26.3—dropping 71 spots to 80th overall—which is a 33.5 percent decrease in production. Ouch.
While the defense did improve from the atrocious product it put on the field in 2012, it wasn’t by much. There were times where players such as Will Clarke and Darwin Cook made things look as if the defense was finally turning the corner—like performances against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State—and then before you know it, WVU is allowing 73 points to Baylor and 52 to Iowa State.
Holgorsen is known for his background with offense and being a mastermind for branding his own version of the Air Raid with an emphasis on the run and play-action. With Trickett under center and Sims in the backfield, there’s no reason West Virginia should have been as inconsistent as it was. He’ll need to burn every play from 2013 and start from scratch this fall if he wants to stay in Morgantown.
West Virginia did beat Oklahoma State (I’m still trying to fathom how this happened) and held its own against Oklahoma and Texas, it blew what looked to be an attainable bowl appearance by losing to conference bottom-feeders Kansas and Iowa State to end the season. This pretty much evened things out, giving the Mountaineers a D for 2013.
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