“Glad that one’s over.”
-WVU fans (after a win)
The Mountaineers defeated the Delaware State (DSU) Hornets 59-16 on Saturday, but the game was a mess. Turnovers, sloppiness, and an overall lack of focus, plagued WVU for the duration of the game. In a month of games where the team is supposed to grow and develop their young talent, this week, the Mountaineers took the opportunity for granted.
Gibson & The Dawgs
WVU football fans love defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. He brings an intense, blue collar work ethic to a conference where defense is optional. Gibson took over defensive coordinator duties in 2014 and has improved WVU’s scoring defense each year (27.6, 24.6, 24.0). The 2015 and 2016 defenses were actually second in the conference in total defense and third in turnover margin. This season is not shaping up like the others.
Keep in mind WVU is in the middle of their easiest stretch of the season and a great time to pad statistics. Unfortunately, the Mountaineers’ defense is ranked eighth in the Big 12 (of ten) in total defense, fifth in pass defense, ninth in rushing defense, fifth in turnover margin, and the second worst team at allowing plays 10+ yards or more (only trailing Baylor). This does not bode well considering WVU has only faced: Virginia Tech (ranked 35 in the country in total offense), East Carolina (ranked 93 in total offense), and DSU who plays in the FCS. Looking ahead, the defense is in serious trouble.
The Danger Ahead
- Oct. 7 –at TCU– ranked 19 in total offense, seventh in scoring offense
- Oct. 14 –Texas Tech– ranked first in total offense, tied fourth in scoring offense
- Oct. 28 –Oklahoma State– ranked third in total offense, tied fourth in scoring offense
- Nov. 18 –Texas– ranked 33 in total offense, 28 in scoring offense
- Nov. 25 –at Oklahoma– ranked fourth in total offense, ninth in scoring offense
*Only rankings are national
Imagine Baker Mayfield or Mason Rudolph exploiting the holes of the defense or even facing at offense that isn’t completely inept. The effort is there, but the sophomoric mistakes have to stop against Kansas. Eventually, the gunslinging Jesus and Run CMP will not be able to outscore opponents. Even minor corrections can have the greatest impact on this team.
Instead of attempting to jump every route, make the sure tackle; maintain rush/ gap discipline to eliminate quarterback scrambles; generate more pressure without secondary blitzes leaving zones of the defense exposed. The defense must stop worrying about the big play and simply make the right play.
Is this fixable? Yes, hell yes as a matter of fact. But there has only been a defensive regression since Week 1. WVU won this week and that is the most important thing. However, another lapse of game focus to this degree and the Mountaineers will get embarrassed.
As always, let’s go… Mountaineers! And please play better defense.
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