Posted by Tony Caridi on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010
I spent about 15 unsuccessful minutes trying to come up with a catchy, creative lead to start this column. I surrender my creativity and will opt for just a standard cliché.
The offensive unit of this year’s Mountaineer football team needs to “hang its hat” on something to be successful this season. That’s a sweet line isn’t it? The kind of sage wisdom someone would offer during one of those early morning meetings of old guys you always see at a McDonalds.
I don’t know what else comes out of those guy-talk sessions, but I do agree that the Mountaineer offense needs to have a signature strength, or yes, something to hang its hat on this season.
Successful teams have a mode of operation that’s crystal clear. Successful teams don’t hide what they’re going to do, they just do it and opposing defenses become, for the most part, victims.
Patrick White was going to run the ball and 90 percent of the time there wasn’t a thing a defense could do to stop him. That’s why he averaged more than six yards per carry in his career.
Running Pat White was the proverbial “hat” that the Mountaineers hung.
So what’s this year’s “hat” going to be? I’m not asking the question rhetorically, I’m really not sure. However, I do have a hunch.
I think this year’s offense will be characterized by an abnormally successful ability to attack the flanks or perimeter of opposing defenses. WVU has three players (Noel Devine, Tavon Austin, and Jock Sanders) who become instant mismatches once they turn the corner or catch the ball on the perimeter.
This isn’t a team that will line up and consistently knock teams backward running between the tackles. It’s not an offense that will have consistent success with a vertical passing game. But at any time, a sweep, an end around, a screen or anything that allows a Mountaineer to make a play in open space could be a big problem for opposing defenders.
We began with a cliché and we might as well throw in another … “speed kills.” It’s true and it just might become the hat that West Virginia’s offense wears this season, and the hat the breakfast guys at McDonalds are talking about.
Now, from football to basketball …
Bob Huggins and John Calipari are good friends, such good friends that the Kentucky coach is among those who will Roast Huggins next Friday, Sept. 3, here in Morgantown.
Proceeds will go to the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer endowment fund at WVU. You’re invited to attend and tickets still remain on sale.