Multiple Positions, Multiple Struggles

There's no hiding the lack of effort and execution along the offensive line. The coaches know it, the players know it. And they seem to hint at knowing how to fix it. But asking about specifics renders CIA-like responses.

Line coach Ron Crook was asked if the troubles were technique or effort. His gist was that West Virginia must get better across the board. Pat Eger, he of many positions, gave much the same response: "Everyone has to get better at what they need to do and all the pieces will come together," Eger said. "If everyone gets better at what they need to do and focuses on that, we will be good to go."

So is it more of a technique thing, or an effort thing? Footwork? Hand placement?

"Everyone, individually, has to get better at what they need to do," Eger repeated. "If we get better at that, we will come together and be fine. We just need to get better at everything."

By the third round of questioning, one got the impression the players were told not to reveal anything. Tackle Curtis Feigt offered the most insight, noting that he would "say all of those things" were issues. "Me, personally, I watch film and see what I do wrong," he said. "If most errors are on hand placement, than obviously I have to place more attention to that. If it's footwork, I pay more attention to that. You want to get better in every aspect. You pay attention and put focus on everything."

Feigt said it was, indeed, fair to assume nobody was pleased with the effort or execution. "Absolutely not," he said. "Assignment issues contributed. Mainly it was effort. I think (Tuesday) was one of our best practices of the year. Very intense, very focused. Very energetic and we went out there and had fun and that's something we have been missing."

It's also likely fair to note that staff and players refuse to pinpoint an issue because there isn't a single aspect troubling the line play. As a whole the group showed little gumption against Maryland. It also had mediocre footwork at times. It got beat around the end, up the middle. It couldn't fend and slide off blocks and move to the second level, getting a hat on a linebacker. It was all those things, perhaps not by every player, but a mix and match of what needs fixed where. And that's the most difficult aspect. The Mountaineers now need to break down the process a bit and really hone in on what needs attention on a per-player basis. That can be difficult during the season, and WVU's next off week comes Oct. 12, after Oklahoma State and Baylor.

Running back Dreamius Smith refused to give any hints, while also refusing to knock the line for subpar play.

"They are getting the holes open that we are supposed to hit," Smith said. "It's just sometimes it's not the way we want it to go. We are going to keep working at it and not point any fingers."

And that was that. No question, the problems are multiple at multiple slots. West Virginia might be close to solid games at receiver, but it is as close along the line? That's difficult to answer. Feigt said "No comment" to a question as to whether there was any position shuffling. That probably means yes, but is that a positive? This is a line that has already shuffled a good bit, and Feigt said continuity could also be a problem, as the "young guys just don't have the experience."

Shift players, don't shift players. Technique, effort, enthusiasm. Continuity. There is much upon which to work. But it is true, as Crook point out, that West Virginia has played solid games. It's also true those any reasonable offensive production came against Georgia State, and that was only in the latter portions of the second half. One senses there is legit trouble. How much is an unknown.

"You have to enjoy the process," Eger said. "You gotta enjoy getting out there and playing ball the four (practice) days before you play the game. If we enjoy the process and enjoy getting better every day and enjoy seeing new looks from the team that's coming this week, and enjoy it and everyone gets better at those individual things, everything will come together and we will be better."

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