WVU Offense Needs Everyone on Board

It wasn't hard to tell heading into the 2013 season that the West Virginia offense was going to take some time to build chemistry.

But through the first seven games of the season, the Mountaineers haven't gotten to the point where they are consistently able to have solid offensive performances throughout an entire game.

WVU scored 42 points against Baylor, but a lot of those points came once the Bears pulled their starters in a 73-42 win. After looking pretty good for almost three quarters against Texas Tech, the Mountaineer offense stalled out - failing to move the ball at all as it watched an 11-point lead disappear and quickly turn into a 10-point loss at home to the Red Raiders.

As this team is preparing to head down the stretch sitting at 3-4, getting to the point where every game is soon going to become a must-win if it wants to continue its streak of 11-straight seasons with an appearance in a bowl game, it needs to address its issues on the offensive side of the ball.

And, as strangely as it sounds seven games into the season, that starts with trust. Both trusting each other and trusting the system and that it will work.

"We've been talking a lot about trust this week," said sophomore Cody Clay. "Trusting what we're doing, trusting each other. That's what we've been focusing on."

That's an interesting thing for a team to be focusing on this late into a season.

Usually, as a team gets into the second half of the season, there comes a point when things begin to click. The players have played together for a while now, dating back to when camp started in August, and everything starts to get easier to pick up momentum.

"Trust gets built up over time. We might not have that right now because we just haven't been together that long," said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. "There are a lot of hurdles and a lot of barriers, but in the end they're all just excuses.

"Do we have opportunities to make plays and win games? Yes, it was sitting there (against Texas Tech). We should've won and we didn't. That is the bottom line. We've got to get better and get to a consistent level where we can win games."

Players have admitted it gets frustrating when things just don't seem to go their way offensively this season. After seeing it come so easy for the offenses WVU has had the last two years, it's taken its toll on the Mountaineers to see their unit struggle as much as it has at times this season.

"It's tough. It feels like we're letting the defense down," said junior wide receiver Kevin White. "We can do it all the time in practice, and it's really frustrating to see that and you just wonder why it doesn't work in the game. We have to keep our composure. There are going to be games where we don't get what we want, but we just have to keep pushing."

White said that head coach Dana Holgorsen and the rest of the coaching staff sought out the opinions of the players "on a little bit of everything" Sunday after the loss to Tech. A big part of that, he said, was talking about ways to get everyone on board and renewing that trust in each other and that trust in the program that doesn't seem to be there the way it should be.

Yes, a lot of the players on the offensive side of the ball are new and haven't been at West Virginia long. But we're not talking about a team that is having these kind of issues after a game or two.

The Mountaineers have played seven games. These players have been around each other for more than three months. You're not going to have success if you're this late into a season and having trouble getting players to buy into the things you're saying or getting them to trust one another.

The effort is there, every coach has said that. But if you aren't trusting your teammates and coaches, if there is the slightest doubt that they won't get their jobs done, that's a huge problem.

And it's a problem WVU can't have if it wants to win enough games to go to a bowl game.

"We need everyone to get on board and trust this system," White said. "It's affecting us as a team."

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