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Distractions may have been too much for WVU

Bill Stewart

The last time West Virginia experienced head coaching turmoil before their bowl game, the Mountaineers beat Oklahoma 48-28 in the Fiesta Bowl.

It was a different story this time around.

Ironically, it was the very coach hired immediately after that Fiesta Bowl, Bill Stewart, who was the source of the turmoil 3 years later.

As far as West Virginia’s 23-7 loss to North Carolina State is concerned, maybe Oliver Luck‘s decision to can offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen, and eventually Stewart, to bring in Dana Holgorsen as the coach-in-waiting wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Holistically, the Champs Sports Bowl was indicative of what has plagued WVU for much of the season: no offense and too many turnovers. The defense, once again, played well enough to win the game, or at the very least, keep West Virginia in it. The offense did not.

And, despite the thematic struggles, Stewart has historically resisted changes on his staff.

So, Luck did it for him. It was a move that was certainly unconventional, and given the timing, maybe even a bit out of line.

But Luck’s decision to change the guards so soon may have had a more harmful effect in the short-term.

West Virginia simply looked uninspired against the Wolfpack. As per usual, the offensive line was sketchy, quarterback Geno Smith was running for his life and WVU’s two stellar seniors, Noel Devine and Jock Sanders, never really seemed to take the team on their shoulders and play like it was their last game.

Mistakes? Oh yeah, there were a lot of those, too. The Mountaineers committed 5 turnovers.

In short, West Virginia didn’t look like they wanted to be in Orlando.

Did premature coaching upheaval have anything to do with that? It’s possible, and it’s something that may come out in the coming days.

Of course, we’re not sayin’ this is Luck’s fault.

We’reĀ  just sayin’ …

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5 Responses to “Distractions may have been too much for WVU”
  1. sportsfix4u says: Dec 29, 2010 1:38 AM

    John, your da man , but it’s Stew job to have his team ready to play rain or shine. Oh yes it was 6 turnovers not 5- Same thing that hurt WV all year- lack of blocking- lack of play calling-fumbles, hence both teaching coaches are gone. Someone posted that Stew only practiced 75% of the prep for the bowl leaving several great days in his hip pocket for teaching the young men coming back next year-
    the good news – the upcoming recruits don’t have to worry about this low speed offense next season. Oh yes and there was a pro game tonite and hopefully everyone didn’t see WVU lay an egg- And the lads got to visit Seaworld-

  2. blitz4848 says: Dec 29, 2010 7:03 AM

    The battle of the should be non BCS conferences.

  3. chachooga says: Dec 29, 2010 8:20 AM

    Thanks Ben K for regurgitating the annoying line anyone who watched the game had to hear 987 times live. Geno Smith’s screw in his foot last spring became “another distraction for WV”…….according to the ESPN crew.

    N.C. State didn’t look great, but Wilson is quite an athlete!

    blitz….oh you make sooo much sense, UM, FSU, VTech & Clemson shouldn’t be in the BCS.

    Big East sure….but if you throw ACC in there why not Big 10 (pardon me Leaders vs Legends) or Pac 10 or Big 12?!?! What is the difference besides the ACC having more disparity while lacking the SEC reputation.

    How about that Big 12 powerhouse last night…..14th ranked Mizzou goes down to Iowa’s half squad…..

  4. tryagainplease says: Dec 29, 2010 8:44 AM

    i guess we’ll hear this same line when the hogs dismantle osu in the sugar. they were just distracted, thanks again morons for selling your stuff and making it a lose/lose situation for all.

  5. wvuandsteelers says: Dec 29, 2010 8:48 AM

    Bye bye Mullen. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    It wasn’t a distraction. This is how they have played all year….no discipline due to no coaching.

    Hopefully Brunetti will decide to stick around for some real coaching.

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