Posted by Frazier
I called the big man after Steve Slaton's long, snaking 37 yard touchdown run through the Maryland defense so say one word, "yikes". Of course we started debating how the game was going, how to slow up, if not actually stop, the Mountaineer offense. After a couple of minutes of conversation, I hung up the phone, looked up, and noticed WVU punching another one in the endzone. Yikes.
West Virginia can be stopped. It really is possible. They got a huge lead, and got disinterested, almost allowing Maryland to pull a Georgia and climb back in the thing. Maryland made the type of mental errors you simply can't make when playing such a talented team on a huge stage at their home stadium. Maryland also made the cardinal sin when playing this offense, they overpursued. Rich Rodriguez has based his offense on the tendency of young players, college players, to make mistakes. Pro teams do it too, like the Bills did last week, which is why players like Lavar Arrington, who was a stud in college, can't translate their talent to the next level. Discipline is key. Rodriguez suckers defenses in, and then flips the play on them. Drawing defensive ends into his backfield, sending linebackers careening out of position on passing downs, or having four defenders attempt to tackle a blocking Steve Slaton, only to have White dump it over their heads for a wide, wide open score. A team with good athletes playing disciplined football really does have a chance to shut them down. West Virginia really didn't do too much between the tackles, this isn't a power bunch.
Still, they took advantage of every mistake that Maryland made (the mark of a good team) and they completely confused, beffudled, and bewildered the Terrapin defenders until the game got out of hand, and they stopped paying attention. If you're not ready for West Virginia, they will smack you in the mouth so fast, and so hard, you may not be able to get back in the game. They hit the field like a tornado, and don't stop until they have blown your house down.
I still have concerns about this team. It doesn't get big yards between the tackles, White isn't ready to win a game with his arm, and the defense is undersized and has to gamble to make plays. The Maryland offensive line really pushed them all over the field. It may have been a different game if the Terrapins had a chance to establish a running game, control the clock, and grind down the undersized Mountaineers. Of course, WVU didn't give that chance, exploding for points and turnovers early, and putting the game away before I could crack a second beer. And that's how West Virginia plans to play every game, and if they do, they might not be beat this year, as they look awful good when firing on all cylinders. I just don't think they can do it.