Friday, October 17, 2008

Stats and a microwave

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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?

  1. 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.

  1. 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….

  1. 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

Stew gets some balls on Prom night

Tajh Boyd simply piled on the Mountaineer nation after he decommitted from WVU on Sunday night. In doing so, Mr. Boyd let it be known that our recent offensive woes were a catalyst for his decommitment. Now before I go too far here, I'm going to talk about how the recruiting system works in college football. I'm not a recruiting expert or a football genius but I do follow it and, as my title would suggest, I find it to be much like asking for a date to the prom.

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

Season recap to this point.....

Greetings everyone.

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 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....