Posted by Tony Caridi on Monday, November 3, 2008 (10:40 am)
Go to Tony's Blog Page to Comment
You can also join Tony at www.twitter.com/tonycaridi
He’s not a guy who seeks the limelight. In fact, he would come in last place in a self-promotion contest. But we all should take note of the job that Director of Strength and Conditioning Mike Joseph and his staff have done with the Mountaineer football team this season.
Saturday’s second-half shutout of Connecticut is the Mountaineers fifth second-half whitewashing of the season. Think about that: WVU has played eight games and in five of those the opposition has recorded a goose egg in the second half.
Meanwhile, the Mountaineer offense which has generated 89 first half points, has produced 113 in the second half. All totaled, WVU is outscoring its opponents, 113-28 in the second half this season.
In the last two games, the Mountaineers have outscored Auburn and Connecticut 52-0 in the second half.
Like the stock markets, past performance doesn’t guarantee future success but credit must be given to Joseph and crew for the job they’ve done. The strength staff has also worked in conjunction with the athletic training staff to significantly reduce hamstring injuries that had plagued the team in recent years.
Are you looking for something to get worried about in anticipation of Saturday’s showdown with Cincinnati? The Bearcats lead the Big East in kick return yardage. Uh oh! The Mountaineers are dead last.
The Bearcats also lead the conference in pass offense. The Mountaineers are first in pass efficiency defense which should make for a quite a game of cat and mouse between the Cat’s Brian Kelly and West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel.
The back of the Mountaineer defense will really be challenged this weekend. Cincinnati has two of the top three pass catchers in the Big East in Dominick Goodman and Mardy Gilyard.
The Mountaineers took plenty of heat early in the season for failing to convert on third down. The latest stats show West Virginia is first in the conference in third down conversions. Cincinnati which battled through an 0-for-25 drought recently, is currently seventh on third down conversions.
Don’t be surprised to see a few yellow flags on Mountaineer Field Saturday night. Cincinnati is the Big East’s most penalized team. The Bearcats average 66 penalty yards per game.
One last note from the Connecticut game: That was MSN Radio producer Jeff Jenkins who was mistakenly appeared on the television broadcast during the replay of Alric Arnett’s reception late in the first quarter. Jenkins flashed the thumbs-up when the cameraman mistakenly showed our booth instead of the actual replay booth. If it’s OK with the Big East, the MSN radio crew will be more than happy to serve as the replay officials for all West Virginia games for the remainder of the season.