WVU Still Looking For a Dominant Road Win
WVU has a big road test coming up, that is much needed and could define the Mountaineers season.
Saturday resulted in one of the more memorable moments/games in recent Mountaineer history, but now it is time to move on and be realistic. The Mountaineers are scary, and I do not mean scary in a good way.
You can site the explosive offense, playmakers on either side of the ball, or the slow, but sure improvements on the defensive side of the ball. Fact of the matter is, this team is not consistent.
The willpower to fight back and never give up is encouraging and speaks volumes, but really good teams are consistent for four quarters. It helps that this offense can score in the blink of an eye, but not every defense will bend and break the way Texas Tech’s did on Saturday.
On defense, the Mountaineers have slowly made improvements. Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson and Defensive Line coach Bruce Tall seem to be content with the consistent five to six man rotation they have up front. True freshman defensive lineman Lamont McDougle has made the decision to stick with this core a lot easier. Midway through the season Adam Shuler II, Reese Donahue, and McDougle have been the constants up front, with productive work off the bench from Junior Ezekiel Rose. This group of four men have combined for 58 tackles, and 7.5 tackles for loss. Where this group falls short is pressure. Although the group has been a tackling machine, they fail to get consistent pressure in the run or pass game with only four sacks so far this season.
The linebacker group has looked a lot more agile since the return of David Long Jr. it seems like the group has been able to get from sideline to sideline with ease covering lots of ground. As well as Redshirt Freshman Dylan Tonkery played in Long’s absence, you could see Tonkery’s youth on the field some time, with missed assignment or not filling gaps. Tonkery also struggled in coverage at times, a place where Long has made his impact felt, deflecting two passes in his first game back against TCU.
In the secondary, the team has seen solid play from safeties Dravon Askew-Henry, who is third on the team in tackles and Senior Kyzir White. Both have been extremely versatile and active. The two have also made Toyous Avery and Marvin Gross Jrs jobs easier as they have rotated at the BANDIT safety position.
The Mountaineers so far on their resume have:
-The tough loss to Virginia Tech
-Blowout victories over underwhelming opponents in East Carolina and Delaware State.
The tough loss to TCU
-And the comeback victory over Texas Tech
Now all the Mountaineers are missing is a dominant performance over a conference opponent, and it helps that the next one is on the road. As Baylor scratches and crawls for their first victory of the season, they have taken a couple of good teams to the brink. One being against Oklahoma the other against Kansas State. Baylor has showed the ability to stay in close games, but has not figured out how to close a game. As the Mountaineers have struggled to get going in the first half of the their last two games, you can expect Baylor will be hype for an 8 o’clock kickoff at home in Waco. Which is why it is important that Quarterback Will Grier and Mountaineers put this game away early.
The Mountaineers have been every kind of game imaginable so far this season, but have yet get a dominating road win. The Mountaineers are headed back in the right direction, but need to assert their dominance this week on the road to let the rest of the Big 12 know that they are not an inconsistent ball club.