It’s been an up and down year, to say the least, in Morgantown, West Virginia. After riding high after beating Baylor, and taking out Oklahoma State convincingly, the team has lost two straight games. TCU came to Morgantown and won on a heartbreaking last second field goal. While Dana Holgorsen’s late game play calling can be questioned, that game can credited to a job well done by TCU. Then last week, the Mountaineers went down to Austin, and laid an egg against Texas, in a 33-16 loss.
These two losses prove that WVU is still in Big 12 transition. They lack the depth that it takes to compete with the Conference powers in a week-in, week-out, basis. The team is really good in the first 22 players. They can compete with any team in the league. That was proven in close games that were had against Alabama, Oklahoma, and TCU. But when you run into trap games, like Texas (weird calling Texas a trap game isn’t it?), you have to have the depth to go on the road and win them.
WVU has to continue to improve recruiting to create more depth. If the recruiting services are right, these last two classes are ones that are going to help the Mountaineers build a very solid two-deep.
Given the circumstances, the defense has played really well, and held their own, against some of the best offenses in the country. But, it’s the offense that lacks weapons. Granted, there are two stars at wide receiver, in Kevin White and Mario Alford. Then there are about four average running backs. Dreamius Smith has been a disappointment, Rushel Shell hasn’t lived up to his hype, Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison are too small, and Wendell Smallwood is still young. The offensive line is improved, but got used and abused last week against Texas. Holgerson and his staff must continue to get some big nasty guys up front. Against the Longhorns, it felt like QB Clint Trickett was given less than two and a half seconds to throw the ball.
With West Virginia now in the Big 12, they can head to the fertile recruiting grounds of the Texas plains. But, the other Big 12 newcomer, TCU, had, and has, an advantage being in Texas, being able to sell “home” to recruits. With Morgantown, WV over 1,200 miles from Dallas, it’s a much tougher sell. But, if West Virginia can continue to win, they will be able to recruit nationally and compete with the powers of the Big 12. Bill Snyder has been very successful over his tenure at Kansas State by recruiting Texas. In due time, why can’t WVU?