Monday, November 14, 2011

WVU-Cincinnati Final Thoughts

Well, it wasn't how it was drawn up but a win is a win. And it was certainly needed if WVU wants to go BCS bowling. Dana Holgorsen wanted more effort and that's what he got. It was a Mountaineer team that just willed to a win.

Most Valuable:
Tavon Austin. The speedster may not have scored, but his impact was immeasurable. Austin finished with 249 all-purpose yards, including key gains on 3rd downs and kick returns. He made many short passes into impactful plays, and showed how dangerous he is in space. Yes, Austin did have one drop, but more than made up for it throughout the game. He certainly showed how talented he can be.

Least Valuable: Outside Linebackers. It wasn't for a lack of effort. The boys definitely battled hard, they just weren't effective. Numerous missed tackles and/or assignments allowed Cincinnati to gain big yardage on the outside. All three Bearcat touchdowns went to the outside, and were pretty easy runs. The good thing about this is the fact that the kids are young will get better. And as I said, the effort is certainly there. Now they just have to execute.

Most Surprising: The Score. Neither team getting to 30 was shocking. It is also a compliment to both defense units. WVU and Cincinnati displayed good poise against the other. Both offensives can be explosive, and it certainly was different when Zach Collaros left with injury. However, the Mountaineers were very effective against him as well. Most believed a shootout would be the way, especially after the fast start.

Least Surprising: Problems in the Kicking Game. There's just not a lot of talent and/or experience there. While coverage seems to be getting better, kicks are too low, blocking is inadequate, and punts are inconsistent. Are the mistakes fixable? Some, but I'm not holding my breath.

Play of the Game: The Block. In the final seconds the Bearcats were trying to force overtime with a tying field goal. That's when Eain Smith and just about everyone else blew through the Cincy line to block the kick. It was nice to see WVU actually get the break in the kicking game for once.


Quarterback: Geno Smith played well. Completion percentage was good, poise was good, ran when needed, didn't turn it over. He did hold on to the football a little too much, and struggled to finish drives, but overall a fine day.
Grade: B

Running back: Tough day for backs, going against a very good run defense. They struggled gaining any type of consistency, and Dustin Garrison's fumble was very costly at the time. Shawne Alston did score another touchdown, but not much impact from the group.
Grade: C+

Wideout: Another good day for the group, with two players over 100 yards. There were a few crucial drops, but overall a solid day.
Grade: A-

Offensive line: A day to forget for this unit. Didn't do much to help the run, and Geno was sacked five times. Have played much better.
Grade: C-

Defensive line: A pretty good day for the boys up front. Created some havoc up front an forced a turnover for touchdown. Though struggled slowing the run like everyone else.
Grade: B

Linebacker:L The inside was tough, the outside was a bit of a disaster. Need more consistency, which will probably come with experience.
Grade: C+

Secondary: Mixed bag for the group that was missing Terrence Garvin. Had an interception, but also struggled in coverage. This unit needs to find some talent.
Grade: C

Special Teams: All over the place here. Kicking game was pretty disastrous. The return was effective, and the blocked kick sealed the win. Like I said, all over the place.
Grade: B-

Coaching: Scheme seemed effective when run correctly. Adjustments in special teams helped some. But the motivation was the big factor.
Grade: A