Well West Virginia fans, does the air smell crispier and cleaner? Is the sun shining brighter? Are you happy, because you should be. The West Virginia Mountaineers finally, FINALLY, beat the Oklahoma Sooners as a member of the Big 12 Conference, getting that monkey off their back. Weather wise it wasn’t a great day but 50,000 (supposedly) showed up to see the Mountaineers beat the Sooners.
Thank You Garrett Greene
Let’s just go ahead and start with the man of the hour, backup quarterback Garrett Greene. Greene was inserted into the game and was presented with a tough task. He was backed up inside his own ten to start the drive but the spark that was present all game showed itself early. Once the Sooners had to account for Greene and his running ability, the offense opened up and became something we’ve seen before. Did it feel like you understood what the offense might do yesterday when he was in? Did it feel like there was a string of plays to set up the next set of plays?
It did for me. I saw plays stacks upon plays. Now the running game could show the handoff, fake it and throw a seam route. Now we could rollout and there is a threat of a QB run which stresses the defense. The very first third down conversion of the game, the Mountaineers were in third-and-six and they were in third-and-six because Greene the play before ran for four yards instead of taking a sack. A mobile quarterback helps your offensive line. It helps your running backs. It helps your OFFENSE.
Did you feel like the team had energy and spark and fire when Greene was in at quarterback in the second half? Did it feel like guys were making plays and playing like they cared? The universe is entropic and when you give off energy, others take on that energy. If that energy is mopey and “business-like” your players will be mopey and business like. That energy can work when you need people to calm down, but it can be a detriment when you need someone to step up and make a play. Greene plays much like a Golden Retriever puppy, just happy to be alive and in the game. That energy causes others to be happy and play loose. Good begets good.
I encourage you to listen to Greene’s post-game press conference because he said something that made him my current favorite player “I’m just thankful to be on the field, whether it’s for a play, for a series or the second half like it was today. I’m just blessed to play for this beautiful university and beautiful state”.
Some of the “hype” or “good vibes” potentially about keeping head coach Neal Brown revolved around the idea that a bad season would mean JT Daniels would stay for his final, final, final year and would have nearly the entire offense coming back. After yesterday’s game, I don’t see Daniels returning to the Mountaineers.
Daniels has been off. Whether he’s hurt, injured, or just not good, he hasn’t been the five-star quarterback fans and coaches thought they were getting. Not all of it is his fault, though as I stated above, I do wonder how much of it is energy and leadership. We saw wide receivers fight for balls for Greene, we didn’t see them fight for ball for Daniels.
Daniels’ first interception is both a lack of awareness and a player pressing trying to make something out of nothing. I think Daniels is feeling the pressure to win and the pressure its putting on the coaching staff. With a guy wrapped around his leg, he thing to throw across his body to essentially the Oklahoma player. It was maybe the easiest pick I’ve seen in a while, just edging out the Kansas pick six.
Going back to the TCU game, JT Daniels has quarterback 23 drives for the Mountaineers. Those 23 drives have produced:
- 106 plays
- 362 yards
- 17 dots
- 4.6 plays per drive
- 3.41 yards per play
- 1.41 points per drive
Compared to Greene:
- 8 drives
- 68 plays
- 383 yards
- 31 dots
- 8.5 plays per drive
- 5.63 yards per play
- 3,875 points per drive
Yes, Neal Brown really did say that he hasn’t made a decision on a starting quarterback for Kansas State and I would not expect him to say anything. I suspect that the depth chart handed out Tuesday will list Daniels and Greene as co-starters. For gamesmanship, it makes sense – why show your hand to Kansas State and give them any additional information. I have no problem with what he said. I do think Greene has to be the starter going forward though. You can’t start Daniels next week. You just can’t.
It’s Nice, But….
It was really nice to beat Oklahoma. We should all be happy we beat Oklahoma. We have now beaten every team in conference. Monkey off our back. That shouldn’t change how many of you feel about the head coach. One win doesn’t change a losing record, now 21-24. It doesn’t change 4-6. Remember, this was a bad Oklahoma team, not the juggernaut we saw in 2014-2018.
One thing that I’ve learned over the past few weeks is to notice where your information comes from and not to dismiss it outright. You can laugh online at posters bringing up rumors, but if you want to start a fire, you need an ember. I would never take what some random Twitter person says online as gospel truth, but if they have sources – and some do – what they say is the first inkling of grumblings in the castle.
Once you hear guys like 247 and Rivals at least mention in passing that the castle isn’t tight, you know there are discussions to be had. Once national guys like Pete Thamel at ESPN are bringing up information, that information is being told to them by someone who wants to get information out. Thamel remarked on such on ESPN College Gameday and now that information has reached this level, you can know that there are real discussions to be had.
This is the one scenario that really intrigued me. If Brown lost yesterday, I’m 100% certain we are informing you that he has been fired. If he wins out, he’ll keep his job. Yesterday is the start of winning out but what happens if we lose next week? At 4-7, you’ve only got one game left – do you fire the coach and give someone one game or do you say “what’s one more game?” Both are scenarios that have real good answers attached to them.