Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
It’s sort of like two-for-Tuesday, but with opinions instead of pasta.
n Was West Virginia University’s offensive line the only culprit in the mediocre running attack vs. James Madison?
Gaining only 34 yards in 24 attempts was a group effort.
“I thought blocking at every position was severely below average,” said WVU head coach Neal Brown, during the Big 12 conference call Monday. “I thought our perimeter blocking at receiver was probably as bad as I’ve been around in a long time.
“I thought our offensive line ... we were on people, we just didn’t get any movement. I think some of that was guys were playing for the first time, so they were playing a little ... timid isn’t the right word. But they weren’t coming off the ball.
“We didn’t block at any position very well. I thought our slot receivers were as big a part of our run game not going well as our offensive line.”
That has to improve greatly when WVU plays Missouri at noon Saturday in Columbia, Missouri.
“I think we have to strain harder up front,” said Brown. “The offensive line was getting on people, but they weren’t creating any movement. And we’ve got to get more out of our tight ends. I don’t think our tight ends were a factor in the game. Now, our running backs ... I don’t think we read the run game very well. We didn’t setup our blocks. And our quarterback has got to do a better job in his run fakes.”
Brown even took himself and his coaching staff to task.
“We have to game plan better,” he said. “We went into the game thinking we could win those one-on-ones where we didn’t necessarily have to trick them in the run game. We could just line up and play. And that wasn’t the case. So, we’ve got to do a better job in the game-plan mode.”
The Mountaineers simply have to make an across-the-board effort to improve their running game.
n When a school has to play at an opponent located 1,785 miles away, what does it do?
In Marshall’s case, it leaves a day early – Wednesday – for a 9 p.m. EST game on Friday at Boise State in Boise, Idaho. That way the Herd can walk on the blue turf in Albertsons Stadium and get acclimated to the thinner air.
It’s a very good idea.
n Some coaches have a hard time understanding this, but sometimes life is bigger than football.
Such is the case with Hurricane Dorian hitting Florida and WVU and Marshall both having multiple Sunshine State natives on their respective two-deep depth charts.
“I’m actually getting ready to go into a staff meeting and talk about it,” said WVU’s Brown, who has five Floridians on his depth chart. “That’s hard. You try to keep your mind on what you can control, but that’s a lot easier said than done.”
Just ask Marshall linebacker Omari Cobb, who hails from Port St. Lucie, Fla., along with 17 other Florida natives on MU’s depth chart.
“It’s hard but I’m trying to stay focused,” said Cobb. “I talk to my family back home just to make sure they’re okay. And they talk to me and make me confident, so I can keep my mind focused on the game.”
Believe it or not, life actually is bigger than football.