WVU v. WVU: They can’t possibly lose this one


You are looking live at the cover of the program for today’s spring game. Remember a year ago when we had some talks about how there were no “Cover Boys” for the 2013 season? That figured to be a rarity — it had been nine years since the team was in a similar spot — and we pretty much knew time and results would give us names and faces for the future.

Well, your names and faces, so far, for the 2014 season, from left to right: Right guard Mark Glowinski, safety Karl Joseph, left guard Quinton Spain and cornerback Ickey Banks.

I don’t have any problem with any of those guys. If I was doing a list, they’e be in the upper echelon. But I want to stop and point at that list for just a second. The banner men for Dana Holgorsen’s fourth team — Dana Holgorsen, I must repeat — are two offensive linemen and two defensive backs. Two guards and two players who have been on the back end of two of the very worst defenses in school history.

I mean, that’s … that’s something, right?

Now, this is not to say the story won’t changeĀ over the summer, or even today, and that guys like Dreamius Smith and Mario Alford and Wendell Smallwood and Kevin White and Nick Kwiatkoski and Daryl Worley and Kyle Rose won’t step forward. And Andrew Buie and I don’t think we should take things like players splashed on covers too seriously, but it’s probably some sort of a clue about this team and the direction it heads after today.

Speaking of what awaits the Mountaineers …



Let’s enjoy this, OK?


Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:28 pm

Signing off from here as we’re running out the lock to end this one.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:24 pm

Remember the Tier 4 tidbit about singleback, TE, H-back, playaction? It just happened. Millard rolled left and the linebacker in peril chose the receiver over the top, which left Eli Wellman open for a touchdown. And Millard has been very good today.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:22 pm

Millard’s NINE-YARD scramble is a career-long.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:20 pm

Wouldn’t be a spring game without a Jordan Thompson flourish. A tidy 42-yard catch-and-run gets WVU on the front foot.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:19 pm

Jon Lewis v. Sly Townes IS the spring game.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:17 pm

Impressive double by Howard. Scrambles into the blitz and then throw into coverage. And then takes a sack by someone wearing No. 42, purportedly third-string punter Huey Syvertson.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:14 pm

Aside: When WVU has committed to blitz from the edge, WVU has gotten to the quarterback. Not a ringing endorsement of the tackles.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:13 pm

Smallwood was a slot on third-and-4 and was inside his defender, but Moore’s throw was off. That leads to a 53-yard field-goal for Lambert, which had puh-lenty to spare.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:08 pm

…and we’re n the backups stage of the game already.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:06 pm

WVU offense roles out the singleback with a TE and an H-back and Wilson peels in and tackles Smallwood for a loss. Wilson!

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:05 pm

Defense starts this half playing a real 3-4 for the first time, though Wilson (54) is listed as a safety and is covering the slot, much like Dillon. Otherwise, there’s been no true OLB-MLB-MLB-OLB yet.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:04 pm

4-37, 1 touchdown

4-36, 1 touchdown






Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:02 pm






Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:01 pm

9-17, 84 yards

8-12, 73 yards, 1 touchdown

7-9, 56 yards, 1 touchdown

Mike Casazza April 12, 20142:00 pm

Halftime stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/statmonitr/?id=53321&a=1

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:52 pm

Same play and covered much better by Brandon Napoleon.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:52 pm

Oof, Nice throw by Moore on the slant into the end zone but Myers drops the TD.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:51 pm

Have’t heard of Alex Brooks before, but Buie just whacked him with a blindside block in the open field. Moore darted through the pocket set up Brooks to run into the approaching Buie. Brooks poped back up. Jeremy Tyler did not after Moore lowered the shoulder and went into Tyler to punctuate the 28 yards.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:46 pm

The 5-foot-7 (allegedly) Mike Molina kicks the PAT. He and O’Toole have a Nae Nae-esque celebration. For a PAT.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:45 pm

Third time is the charm. Millard, short on the previous play, puts the ball in the perfect spot on the second one and White beats Banks.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:44 pm

In the red zone, WVU has gone with three receivers on the field side and one on the boundary. Forces one-on-one on the outside but Mathis and now White are 0-for-2 on their trips to Bolivia.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:42 pm

Smallwood lined up in the slot and caught a 33-yard pass from Millard. Smooth throw from 14 there.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:40 pm

The hot potato lives! Howard to shorts for a six-yard touchdown.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:39 pm

Garrison moves the chains on a simple inside zone on third-and-4. He got six. I’m telling you, he’s been a guy this spring.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:38 pm

Malik Greaves blitzes Howard in the red zone. Dicey gamble by Gibby, but it works as Howard throws one away. WVU has the potential to use a lot of safeties in aggressive roles.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:36 pm

Howard with a quick read, short throw to Garrett Hope for 16 yards. Highlight of the day for the offense.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:31 pm

Moore is pretty cozy when he’s seeing a zone. When it’s something else, he’s hurried and a little erratic.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:30 pm

Third-and-6. WVU goes with no defenders with a hand on the ground and seven on the line. WVU has five receivers and White takes a tunnel screen for a big gain.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:29 pm

At the end of the first quarter, it’s Blue (defense) 14, Gold (offense) 7. For the record. the gold team is wearing white with no gold anywhere. The blue team is wearing blue with gold helmets.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:26 pm

First time I’ve seen Brandon Jackson at nose and he opened things up for pressure on first down. Not bad for the converted offensive lineman.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:25 pm

And then Millard air mails Mathis on a quick toss up the rail on the left side. Not good so far.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:23 pm

And then Darrien Howard sacks Millard, who held on too long.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:23 pm

Bad: WVU goes with 10 players standing up and seven of them at the line. Millard draws Muldrow offside and then goes deep to Vernon Davis for a free play. Davis Cadillacs it and blows a sure TD.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:21 pm

Howard gets WVU one first down, but that sack preceded a punt. Nothing for the first-team offense on two possessions so far.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:19 pm

WVU playing zone for Howard’s series and it covers up everything. Howard scrambles and doesn’t get rid of the ball. Dillon sacks him for a loss of one.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:16 pm

Our first look at Keishawn Richardson and he runs step for step with Devonte Mathis on a deep ball Moore went too deep with.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:15 pm

Third read play, Moore keeps it and shouldn’t have. Dayron Wilson read it and ate him up.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:14 pm

First play for the second-team offense is a zone-read with Moore. Had he kept it, he would have run a long way. Buie is a running back with this offense, by the way.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:13 pm

Thompson was the punt returner on the punt. Fair catch, and I’m assuming there will be no returns on that end. WVU didn’t put a shield up in front of O’Toole.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:12 pm

No surprises on offense. Millard at quarterback. Smallwood at running back. Pankey, Spain, Orlosky, Glowiksni and Lucas on the lne. Clay, Shorts, Alford and White at receiver.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:11 pm

Christian Brown and noble Nwachukwu start outside on the defensive line and Kyle Rose is in the middle. Isaiah Bruce, Kwiatkoski and Brandon Golson are linebackers. K.J. Dillon is a safety with Jeremy Tyler and Joseph. Banks and Worley are cornerbacks.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:10 pm

… and then there’s no kickoff for the second drive.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:08 pm

Alford takes the kickoff back for a touchdown. That’s a hell of an omen in so many ways.

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:07 pm

Crowd? Crowd!

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:05 pm

Mike Molinari kicking off to Smallwood and Alford. The referee steps in. “We’re waiting on TV.”

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:04 pm

The Tom Nikolich Memorial Award for the best walkon: Calicchio!

Mike Casazza April 12, 20141:03 pm

Your 2014 Iron Mountaineer Award winners for winter strength and conditioning: Worley, Glowinski and Cody Clay.

Mike Casazza April 12, 201412:56 pm

…hard to believe Alabama’s playing in an opening weekend showcase game in Atlanta and it’s not a prime time game.

Mike Casazza April 12, 201412:50 pm

Some info on WVU v. Alabama:

– Kickoff is 3:30 p.m. EST on Aug. 30. The game will be televised by ABC.

– The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game flaunts a “historical average total team payout of $4.3 million per game,” which is higher than more than 20 bowl games.

Mike Casazza April 12, 201412:41 pm

Looks like Dreamius Smith won’t go today. He’s in shorts and a jersey on the sideline while everyone stretches. He got his bell rung by Jeremy Tyler and Karl Joseph (surprise!) in Charleston.

Mike Casazza April 12, 201412:23 pm

Also, defense in blue, offense in white and quarterbacks in gold today.

Mike Casazza April 12, 201412:22 pm

See? Told you.

Mike Casazza April 12, 201412:18 pm
Mike Casazza April 12, 201412:17 pm

Probably couldn’t have asked for a nicer day today, but we’re taking preliminary attendance polls and no one expects much. Just not a big crowd outside.

Mike Casazza April 12, 201411:53 am

Yo, Rasheed Marshall Suit Game is razor sharp. Navy blue. Pinstripe. Three-piece. Early candidate for MVP.

6 Responses to “WVU v. WVU: They can’t possibly lose this one”

  1. Bobby Heenan says:

    After one quarter they are who we thought they were -better at defense, not good on offense, and number 5 can run.

  2. DanInNJ says:

    The QBs didn’t impress all that much but there were dropped passes. Overall I think they made good decisions, especially Millard. In the end I think it will come down to Millard or Trickett. Moore showed some skills and Howard did as well but they can’t run the offense like Millard can (and hopefully Trickett will be able to).

    The offensive line is a big concern.

  3. Bobby Heenan says:

    Where was Dremius? I presume he was held out due to a minor injury or something.

  4. Sammy says:

    Spring game was about what I expected, maybe a little better. This team could beat almost any team (Alabama is likely one of the exceptions) but could lose to almost any team, but I sure wouldn’t bet on them in a shootout. Good thing they play in the Big 12.

    It gets hard to evaluate as the game goes on because there are so many backups in and out. I had a few thoughts. Curious if anyone agrees/disagrees:

    – The first team defense shut down the offense in the first half, though some of that was a result of bad throws. The offense had more success once backups started going in.

    – Receivers looked OK. White could put up some big numbers with some help though he still looks a little raw. Alford is explosive but needed to reel a couple of passes in though he wasn’t getting a lot of help. Weirdly I thought KJ Myers looked good even though he dropped a touchdown pass. He has some size and athleticism and looked OK on some screens, but plays like that drop are why he isn’t playing more I guess.

    – There were a few times where it looked like we played with 3 down linemen, a single free safety and three linebackers and two safeties near the line, which seems like Casteel’s influence on Gibby.

    – Hard to judge the linebackers since about 70 of them played. I thought the starting secondary played very well; was choppier with Harper, Keishawn Richardson, Napoleon and others in the game, though Napoleon made a couple of plays. I think Jeremy Tyler is going to be good, though that doesn’t mean Big 12 teams won’t exploit a true sophomore free safety.

    – I didn’t learn a lot about the runningback situation, though I liked Buie and Smallwood in the slot. The stream messed up the big pass to Smallwood in the slot (and Geoff Coyle initially called it as a long catch by “Kyle White”), so I don’t know what kind of route he ran but it all seemed a positive development. Garrison looked solid but he was playing with the second team and I don’t think we’ll rely on him. Shell looks talented but still a little out of shape.

    – The QB situation is what it was. Millard probably came out on top, especially keeping in mind that I think he played against the first team defense the most, and I’m confused by the commentary saying Howard played so great. Honestly I didn’t see much separation between him and Logan Moore, though I think Moore is game considering he’s a walk-on one-time receiver.

    – I’d have to go back to watch the spring game but if I can take anything away from the strategy and the how as Mike said the other day, I liked the guys like Smallwood, Buie, Clay and Wellman who played multiple spots, and we moved the receivers on and off the line more than in the past. It also seemed like we didn’t go with as many slow developing play-action passes as opposed to quick hitters that get the ball out of the QBs’ hands. I agree with that strategy, but some might have been sandbagging given that it’s the spring game.

    – The best thing about the quarterbacks is there were no turnovers. This is my big fear when Trickett comes back, though Millard has been something of a turnover machine in the past as well. We can win a few games if these guys don’t turn it over much, though the margin is thin. For all the things Geno did well, he just didn’t throw many interceptions, even back when Mullen was the OC (though he was prone to fumbles). These guys have to take care of the ball.

    While I thought the game was somewhat encouraging, I guess it’s a sad testament to the state of WVU football that right now I’d love it if we had a quarterback with the decision making ability of Paul Millard and the athleticism of Logan Moore.

  5. Spatial Angel says:

    Surprised to see the QBs taking hits. Were the coaches hoping they’d all get hurt? Millard was clearly the best of the three, as he should have been.

    Aside to whomever does the announcing next year. Stick to play by play, identify as many players as you can. Please don’t converse.

  6. DanInNJ says:

    Bobby – yes, Dremius Smith was out with a bruised shoulder.