Friday, December 5, 2008
That does not diminish the fact that we have a very important revenge game, and it is the last game for the greatest player that has ever played football at WVU. In honor of his last game, I would like to list, what I think, are his top 10 plays. Most of these plays are legendary and I'm proud to say that I saw most of them live.
10. The last game in 2005 was against USF, and we had the confrence and BCS bowl game locked up. However, respect for the conference and WVU was on the line. For the first time all season Steve Slaton was having trouble finding holes and Pat just took over. Pat drops back, surveys field and scampers 70 yards to a game changing score.
9. In the Fiesta Bowl last year, OU had just scored to bring the game within 14 I think. On second down, Pat drops back, looks over the field and delivers a laser to a double covered Tito Gonzales. Tito catches it, a DB rolls off of his back and he goes 83 yards and starts the rout of the sooners. Pat got drilled on this play, and the whole thing was more reminiscent of something Payton Manning would do than a running QB.
8. Pitt ran a punt back against us in the 2006 brawl and got back into the game at the end of the half. At the start of the second half, Pitt started to blitz and Pat hit Super Steve on two 60+ yard wheel routes for scores.
7. This isn't one play but at the end of the 4th quarter in the 07 Gator Bowl WVU had a slim 3 point lead against Georgia Tech. RR simply told Pat that we needed a few first downs, and Pat simply delivered that. We kept the ball for the final 5 minutes of the game and came back from 18 points down.
6. The second half against Louisville in 06 was something most would like to forget and many have. However, in the 4th quarter Pat White solidified himself as a leader in my eyes with his performance. Despite numerous fumbles by SS and Owen Pat just kept going and running for for first downs and throwing for TD's. We lost, but Pat showed that he is THE leader of the team and program and that he was never going to give in.
5. Against Louisville in 08, in the second half, Pat once again showed his leadership by simply making all of the plays. He took one in from 45 and threw for two more. In doing so, he broke the all time record for rushing by a NCAA QB. I couldn't think of a more deserving guy.
This is when it gets good......man I'll miss Pat.
4. Strange things happened to WVU in November of 2007 and it all began against Louisville. In the first half, WVU scored in multiple ways, but Brian Brohm and Harry Douglas proved to be constant thorns in our sides. With two minutes to go Louisville kicked a field goal to tie it up. Pat got us to the 50 and on second down, he got loose for a 50 yard scoring run. Incredibly clutch and classic Pat White.
3. In sub zero temperatures in 2005 against Pitt, Pat dropped back looked left for Drey on a screen, right for Brandon Miles on a screen but both were covered. HB Blades nearly takes his head off, but Pat makes him miss. Pat then scampers 70 yards to an icy, endzone and 445-21 blow out over the hated Pitt Panthers. When he was interviewed at the half by Erin Andrews, Dave Wannstadt broke down the play much like last year. Andrews asked what Pitt needed to do in order to stop WVU and White in the second half. Wanny being Wanny simply said that they must get faster.......
I'm starting to get misty eyed here...
2. The first quarter of the Sugar Bowl in 2006 might have been the most magnificent display of offense I have ever seen. In the second half, the Bulldogs, who were playing a basic home game, came back on us. After a penalty we had a 3rd and 9 from our 9 with three minutes to go. Pat drops back and takes off. I'm not sure how many he juked, but it was at least half of the Georgia defense. Many, if not most, will remember Phil Brady's fake punt to ultimately seal it, but that play would have never been possible had Pat not made one of the most amazing 11 yard runs you will ever see.
With water on the keyboard.....
1. You might recall that in 2005, Louisville was the hands down favorite to win the league, and WVU was a young team with little expectations. Pat didn't even start the game and played little through the first 52 minutes. Down by 17, Adam Bednarick got injured and Pat had to come in and convert a first down with a 2nd and 20. He did just that with a nice pass to Drey. After drops by Jollah and Brandon Marshall, Pat then had a 4th and ten. Louisville only rushed three and Pat ran around Eric Johnson and Elvis Dummervill (both in the NFL) to get the first down. WVU scored a few plays later. After an amazing on sides kick and a field goal it was once again 4th down and a long yard this time. Louisville brought the house and Pat used his speed and vision to take it around the corner to a first down. Steve Slaton scored to set up the game tying extra point two plays later. These two plays kept this game alive. More importantly, this game was the catalyst for WVU's unparallelled success from 2005-07. From this point on, WVU would not lose another football game for another year, and would only lose 3 more in the next two seasons. One thing for sure...he will be missed. Lets hope I can replace one of these plays with a play tomorrow....IMO chances are good.
My attorney and I started the day in Lexington, and quickly made our way to view the kickoff at Papa Johns stadium (the slice as they call it.) The first half was more of the same BS we have seen all year. Trips inside the 5 that ended with missed field goals or little daddy slipping while walking in the endzone. Can Noel Devine get some longer cleats or something? The guy seems get tackled by the turf more than any player I have ever seen when its cold. Also, for a guy that was a special teams coach, you would think that Stew of all people would realize that Pat Mac does not kick the ball well when kicking from the left hash and inside the ten. I know that most of our third down plays in the redzone involve some sort of run pass option for Pat, but you would think that we would change it up if we know we are going to kick the field goal on 4th down?
The second half was amazing. Louisville fans were giving us high fives and confessing their man love for PW. I was amazed when Pat was left in during the 4th quarter to get the record, but I was glad that I got to see it. Overall it was a good trip but pretty darn cold.
On Black Friday, my attorney and I woke up at 5am like many other Americans, but it was not so we could catch a good sale or get a wii. It was to head north, to Yinzer town to see the 101st addition of the backyard brawl. This was about revenge. And despite the fact that we had to sit in the nose bleed seats and brave the cold Ohio River wind, I knew we were going to get ours. Instead, we gave another one away. Two posessions inside the ten with no points, another we got down to the ten but it was called back for a penalty. Same story, same river wind, but a different result. When Lashan McCoy got the ball on the edge on the same fake dive play that killed us last year and took it for a key first down I knew it was all over. Cincy winning against the Cuse took a little bit of the sting away, but irrelevance after being dominant for so many years is a little hard to swallow.
Monday, November 10, 2008
At some point around 10 pm Thursday, I was thinking about Cincy chili, listening to their fans do their basketball cheer (weak, gay) and thinking about how unpleasant my drive home was about to be. As you all know a few things happened, I got really happy, a grown man confessed his love for me, and we lost in OT on a bullshit, nutless, dumb fuck call. We didn't deserve to win at all and that is all that matters. Although it would have been one hell of a story.
I missed the UCONN game or at least missed blogging about it and at this time it doesn't matter. All the good things we were doing ended. However, you only have to go down one post to see my keys to WVU winning games. After Auburn, I said that we HAVE to run the ball up the middle to be successful. We did for two games and then a gigantic, proverbial Dent hit or left our program. Next to guard the center is the most unglorified position on the field. However, I was amazed at the beginning of the game how nobody seemed to be concered how we were going to be without our big guy in the center. My fears were realized when we rushed for only 99 yards the whole game and the middle of the line was dominated by their DL. For all the trash that we talked about Mike Dent we needed him most and he might be the most important part or our team other than Pat.
For a few brief moments on Saturday, though, we almost jumped the general lee over the big bowl of carbohydrate laced chili. The worst thing about it was how it would have been......However, for all of these types of games you have to think of the Louisville game in 05, the Rutgers game in 06, etc. and how these things tend to work themselves out for good and for bad. Not even gastric bypass and the rest of the delusional Notre Dame fans are lucky enough to win all of them.
Despite all of the gloom and doom and all of the projections of a 6-6 season and a bowl game in mid-December, we have some good news for Mountaineer Nation. Fans, welcome Euguene (Geno) Smith to our team. He came via, Damon Cogdell, who played at WVU back when the author was raising hell in White Hall and the Mountainlair. Eugene is a 4 star QB and will fit in nicely with his good friend and high school teammate Bailey Stedman. I don't know if it makes a dam bit of difference or not, but after the game was over on Saturday we all clapped for the team. Despite the loss ,the fans that stood in their seats and even stayed after the game (that would be me), all cheered for the team when the game was over. ES and BS were there to see that, and I would think that the team's effort coupled with the fan's disappointed yet warm reaction would mean a great deal to a young man trying to choose his football destination. We need to remember this moment when ES is in the game in a few years, throws a pick, and we want to boo him. He believed in us when we needed him most (and we do).
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I recently said that WVU was running the prevent offense and that they couldn’t score in a Women’s Prison with a handful of barbies. The quote is actually supposed to be with a handful of pardons, but I thought I heard barbies and just left it that way. At any rate, today it appears that I was incorrect about the WVU part too.
For the first time since the Fiesta Bowl, it felt like the good old days. WVU pounded Auburn (like every SEC team they have played), and they did it very convincingly. The most impressive thing is that WVU all but spotted Auburn 17 points, and it didn’t even matter. I think that everyone in that stadium from the Chik-a-filet guy, to me, to Captain Green Bean, to Little Daddy and Pat White knew that there was no reason to panic and that good things were about to come to the old gold and blue. Of course after the game, the question that was on everyone’s mind was, “Where has this been all year?” Answers to this question include but are not limited to:
“Chris Beatty is calling plays”
“Rich Rod and Calvin were calling plays in from the couch”
“Auburn really sucks…”
“Noel figured out how to run in the zone”
“Mike Dent can finally block”
“Mullen figured out how to call plays”
“Pat played extra hard because it was against a school from Bama”
“Tubberville is a moron.”
I will not address all of these, but some of them are just too good to pass up. Firstly, Auburn has the most talented defense we will face all year. I was watching the replay of the game with my attorney and on our first scoring drive Noel had a 4 yard run off of the right side that would have gone for 40 against any other team. In the words of our beloved Stew, the boys at Auburn strained and really got after it(at least in the first half), and to categorize that performance against them as anything but improvement would be a serious case of bad judgement. Sure their offense is weak, but I have to call them like I see them and what I saw was our team dominate a good Auburn defense for 60 minutes. Since that issue has been cleared up, I’m sure that all of you are now on the edge of your seat asking what we did differently on Thursday? Well, baby birds, you came to the right place because I’m going to feed ya. Out of all the things that it could be, I’m convinced that the success we saw on offense can mainly be attributed to one thing. For the first time all year the inside zone play worked more than it didn’t work. Auburn had to respect our inside running game and it opened out those beautiful outside runs that we love so much. On the first scoring drive Pat faked the middle hand-off to Jock and optioned to his left where he later pitched to Little Daddy. The backers froze on the fake and allowed Pat to get outside where he then pitched it. Now the reasons for being able to run the inside zone play are many, and whether its better second level blocking by our lines interior or more patient running by Noel or just better playcalling by Mullen I do not know. I do know however, that WVU is 4000-0* over the last couple of years when we run the inside zone play with success, and to me that is all that matters. Furthermore, if we can continue to run the inside zone play with great success (said in my best Kazahk accent) I strongly feel that every team left on our will have a very difficult time stopping us.
*Stats made up by me in order to legitimize this blog.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I’m really not a stat guy. Sure I like to know how many yards Little Daddy and the Great one run for, but, IMHO, most stats are simply numbers that most folks use to justify losses. I love it when people refer to stats like Passing Yards/attempt, Net punting, or pass defense efficency. In my 20+ years of watching football, I have never been watching a game and thought to myself how good a certain team is doing with their pass defense efficency.
Other than wins and losses, when you really think about it, there are only about 5 stats that really matter.
- Turnover margin…There is no better way to lose a game than giving the ball away. Likewise, teams that do not turn the ball over and take it away often find ways to win games they shouldn’t. UCONN the past couple of years is a good example of this style of play. We have been tremendous over the last few years at taking the ball away, but we have been giving it away over the last few years as well. See the last two losses at USF and ECU and Colorado games.
- Penalty yards….Lack of discipline and mental mistakes make up about 75% of all penalties I think. How many drives did we have killed last week because of holds by Ryan Stancheck. One was on a reverse that was run to the opposite side of the field. On the other side of this how many times did JT Thomas jump offsides against Marshall on third down essentially giving them a firstdown. Teams that make too many penalties, IMO, show a serious lack of focus and suggest that the coaches attention to detail is not what it should be. Say what you want to about Nick Saban but you don’t see Alabama jumping offsides and getting called for chop blocks and false starts do you?
- Scoring defense…This one is pretty obvious. In 2006, WVU had a great offense, but the defense was horrible. I strongly feel that the amount of yards are much less important a stat than the amount of scoring your defense allows.
- Scoring offense….I’m not even going to explain much, but the term total offense always gets to me. 500 yards of total offense against Marshall and only 27 points. You have to score to win, and right now, WVU couldn’t score in a women’s prison armed with a box of chocolates and a fistful of barbies. Simply put that is our problem this year….
- Time of possession….Good things happen when you have the ball more than your opponent. Its not the be all end all…in 2006 we scored so fast that many teams had the ball much longer than us, but generally if you win this battle you win the game too.
On another note, I was at the microwave at work today, minding my own business, watching my burrito cook. Someone was nice enough to bring me late night taco bell and I had some leftovers. I hear someone walk by me, slow down and I cringe immediately. I cringe because it reminds me of my dating days. Occasionally you would take a girl out and realize after about 10 minutes that she was absolutely, socially retarded and has not one original or meaningful thought in her little, self-absorbed head. The audible stop and pause behind you at the microwave is akin to the deep breath your date would take right before she plows on through another meaningless, two-man soliloquy on whatever ills are plaguing her life at that moment. So after my cringe, I prepare for a sequence of events that begins with a stupid question about what is cooking and then ends with me giving that person with a look of total hatred is about to ensue. Why even ask the question in the first place? If I wanted to talk about everything I ate throughout the day I would have a food blog. So this person asks me what I’m eating. I don’t even reply; I just look inside the microwave where even Stevie Wonder could tell that a burrito is cooking. This is generally followed with some sort of eye contact and a head nod where I confirm through non-verbal communication that she is indeed seeing a burrito. It never works, because this is where it gets really fun. I’m kind of used to pointing out the obvious to people…… have managers that I have to do it for all of the time. However, this next level that people always have to take it to is what makes me go absolutely bat-shit crazy. For some odd reason, people always feel compelled to tell you how they don’t like what you are eating or they just go oooo or yuck. Not that I care what they think…I’ll eat what I want to regardless of whether or not you like it. (I’m my own man in that kind of way). I do find it tremendously rude and the whole thing having no value what so ever.
OK…enough of that
I also have to add that the best sports movie ever made is The Big Lebowski. It has more quotes than just about any movie there is and plenty of Creedance and Bob. A group of Nihilists are main characters and Flea has a part in it. White Russians and sarsaparillas are a staple and the whole movie centers around the greatest social sport that just about anyone can play…. and in color too. Last night while bowling, I realized that my favorite movie is also a sports movie, and in the words of the stranger, I’m glad that I came to that realization before the good lord gypped me. Ahh…the Dude abides.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Recruiting is a year around process in today's world. You work on college seniors until the first Wednesday in February and then you can sign them to an official contract. However, up until then there are many promises that are handed out on both sides. Playing time, playcalling, and escalades are all promised in the form of unwritten contracts that we refer to as verbals. Well, back in March Tajh gave us a verbal. Now remember this isn't a commitment this is just saying I want to play here and I will sign there in a year. So in March he commits and then a standout wide receiver (Logan Heastie) commits as well. Well, we all have been 18 before and we know that 7 months is a great deal of time, and now everyone has their panties in a knot because this boy changed his mine.
At first I was pissed about the whole thing, but now I'm not so much. First of all, he has openly stated that the NFL is his goal. That's fine if that is your goal, but anyone that has paid much attention to the draft for the last 20 years knows that if you are good enough the NFL will find you. Josh Booty played for USC in a pro-style system that every team in the NFL runs. He was barely drafted last year. The Baltimore Ravens have a rookie QB starting that played at Delaware (and was originally signed by Pitt). Delaware is a division IAA team that couldn't beat USC on any day.
I can understand his disdain with the offense. We don't throw much or score much this year. The whole NFL thing is total BS though as I stated before. The thing that really gets me is that we gave Tajh a commitment. Sure we promised playing time, we promised a change in the offense and most importantly to him we promised to not recruit another QB. Now this is especially important since we currently have The great one at QB as a senior, Jarret Brown as a Junior, Bradley Starks, and Coley White. The later two will have to start in 2010 if we don't get another. Boyd had it all made to be the next starter at WVU, and we even honored his agreement by not recruiting another QB. He has yet to play a down, sign a contract, or put on a uniform but he has royally screwed us in the recruiting process. It show a serious lack of heart and a will that can be broken quicker than a French boxers jaw. Just think about Pat White and how he started. Third on the depth chart, not even listed as QB but as an athlete, comes in to a game 2nd and 20 and he picks it up. He scored 17 unanswered in 10 minutes and converted 2 4th downs (one a 4th and 10). That's heart, that's resilience and that is why we have won 3 new years day bowls in a row. Pat White decommited from LSU to come to us to play QB showing that he had the heart to spur the National Champs and prove to the country that they were wrong, and I have a good feeling that Tajh Boyd decommited from us because he does not posses the same traits. These are the same traits that pick up the tough 3rd down in the Georgia Dome when the Bulldogs have all the momentum and 90$ of the crowd, the traits that make you go on when your all American running back has had the worst game in his career and you are about to lose. It shows your will to win a bowl game you never should have ever had to play in Jacksonville, and last but not least, Pat White's performance in the Fiesta Bowl last year was something extraordinary. Nobody would have ever faulted him for giving up and going pro but he wanted it for his pride and for everyone that loves WVU.
The next QB will never be as good as Pat or have as much heart. This I know. However, when we talk about team toughness, attitude, and other mental aspects that are so important in football I have to believe that a boy high school boy playing QB, that is more concerned with pro bowls than sugar bowls would be a detrimental and dramatic drop off than the man and the champion we have grown to love for the last 4 seasons.
So what...the first girl we asked to prom didn't like us because we don't drive the right car. We have had better anyway and she has prove too high maintenance. BC sucks anyways.....
Monday, October 13, 2008
I've decided to start blogging again. As usual, the content will be random, have many grammatical errors and will often be influenced by the many miller lites in my system. However, my focus from now until late March (hopefully) will be mountaineer athletics and mainly mens football and basketball. So if you like Huggins and captain green bean then stop here from time to time. I'll try to sort things out for you.
I'll start at the beginning....
I have to admit that against Nova I was relieved. I truly thought that running against anyone was a forgone conclusion and the promised passing came on that Labor Day weekend. I left optimistic but concerned about our defense.
Against ECU I had a deck party at my house. The weather was great, food was awesome and plentiful, and many showed up. What transpired was quite possibly the 5th most disappointing loss I have ever had as a mountaineer fan. I think it can be a good thing that we relive these kinds of things so I'm going to briefly relive the top 5.
1. VT football 1999....There is one reason I never leave a game early and never start making calls before we sing country roads.. Khori Ivy catches a Brad Lewis pass over the middle and the upset is on. Ron Mexico, aka Michael Vick, takes the ball around the corner past Barret Green and within field goal range with seconds to play. Todd Graham kicks the field goal as my mom and I talk on the phone.
2. Louisville basketball 2005...Pat Belien was banking threes from 23 feet away, Louisville was in foul trouble, and WVU was going to the final four. WVU went cold, Louisville got hot and and I knew that once they got us into OT there was nothing left to do but the crying. (No I didn't cry.)
3. Miami 1996...undefeated, ranked 8th, seconds to go Tremaine Mack, blocked punt. The season goes into shambles and we lose the bowl game.
4. Pitt 2007....fresh on our minds we need no recap. It is only 4 because I knew we were going to lose that one from about the start of the 2nd quarter. Time to prepare always eases the pain.
5. Miami 2003....Jesus what a turnaround. The greatest run in history only to turned around by what was the worst coverage call by a defensive coordinator in the history of football.
After the ECU debacle, we had a little time to catch our breath, make some excuses and prepare for a Rocky Mtn. High. I went with my attorney and we agreed to have a good time no matter what the outcome of the game was. I now have a new number 5 on the above list. I really thought we would win that one once things got rolling. I had never seen a team run for 300 and only score 14 points. Oh well, on to Denver and a few good meals.
I have heard some say that the win against Marshall was like beating your wife after a bar fight. That is what it felt like for sure. Yet again...300 yards of total offense and only 27 points.
Rutgers was the first noon game in a long time and it felt that way. The team and the crowd seemed to have a hangover. Shit even Stew seemed a little rusty....my guess is that he had some ripple with his green beans the night before. But our lads fought hard and strained.
Syracuse was a daytime version of the Pitt game from last year just with a 92 yard run from Noel Devine "aka...little daddy". Everything else was the same. Pat was out, JB struggled, and Syracuse had the ball for what seemed like a geological era. To continue on the previous analogy that would be like beating the dog after the bar fight.
I will discuss Auburn in another blog at another time....