Unsettled situations, injuries and Big 12 dynamos are WVU problems
Does every team in America have injury problems here at the midpoint in their seasons?
Do any of the teams with 3-3 records have certain areas where they can be confident in their personnel?
With Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor now behind after leaving West Virginia with an 0-3 conference record, will the rest of the schedule be a little softer for the Mountaineers?
There may be some useful depth at a few positions, but with center Tyler Orlosky, running back Wendell Smallwood and defensive secondary certainties Karl Joseph and Terrell Chestnut either gone or badly damaged, then West Virginia cannot find able replacements.
The offensive line hasn’t shown itself to be cohesive enough or talented enough to allow much running room for the backs or enough time for Skyler Howard to do much surveying of any opponent’s secondary.
The next opponent is unbeaten Texas Christian on Thursday, October 29, in Fort Worth. How many of the wounded will be ready to play with the 12 days off between games? How many had the health to practice at full speed against what the Horned Frogs are going to do in that Thursday night game?
Having Baylor score 62 points is not a moment for inspiration. But Baylor can score 62 points on many of the teams in the country.
With injuries comes inconsistency. The offensive line knows it hasn’t been able to provide time for Howard or space enough for the runners. Once Howard gets chased, hurried or sacked, he has problems with interceptions and waiting a split second longer to release his passes.
The clutch of receivers has been burdened with injuries, making that corps mostly inconsistent since new faces appear and older faces disappear during the heat of another fast-paced game.
Can anything more effective than the 3-3-5 defense be found? Quarterbacks salivate when facing West Virginia’s pass rush. It’s something to disregard as they pinpoint receivers working against a patchwork secondary.
With an 0-3 conference record there is no chance to earn a league championship, co-championship or tri-championship.
It will take a 6-6 record to get back to some bowl game in December.
Except for Kansas and Iowa State, every other mid-level team in the conference will be scavenging for the same minor bowls the Mountaineers will want.
Since having a 10-3 record and pounding Clemson in the Orange Bowl in his first year, Dana Holgorsen has presided over seasons with records of 4-8, 7-6, and 7-6.
It’s obvious the Big 12 is far superior in terms of sinewy teams than was the Big East.
But can West Virginia expect to do better in the future?
Holgorsen has to recruit against primarily Penn State and Pittsburgh in the state of Pennsylvania; against Virginia Tech, Virginia and border states when in Virginia; against Ohio State, Cincinnati and six other Division I schools when canvasing Ohio; against most of the ACC, most of the Big 10 and Maryland when next door in that state whose quality players are in schools in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas and worst of all . . . there are so few quality players in the state of West Virginia.
West Virginia gets players from the state of Texas and junior colleges from all over. Do they get the athletes who turn down Baylor, TCU, Texas, Houston, SMU, Texas Tech and Oklahoma from the Lone Star state?
The Mountaineers also comb the state of Florida for players . . . and have to outsell Florida State, Florida, Miami, Central Florida, South Florida, the ACC and the SEC for the best of the best.
It’s puzzling at times to figure how they get as many competitive athletes as they do.
A Big 12 championship may never be in West Virginia’s future.
Do you think Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State and Kansas State are all going to falter at the same time and a West Virginia Dream Team will win a league title?