Although Towson is a high level FCS program, the talent the Tigers put on the field was not nearly equal to that of the Crimson Tide, but that does not mean WVU’s beat down should be overlooked.
Here are my 5 takeaways from Saturday's game against Towson.
5. So far Kevin White has shown that he wants to be considered an elite receiver. Averaging 9.5 catches a game, and 12.8 yards a catch, White is finally showing off his skill. As Dana Holgorsen notes, getting into the end zone is a priority for the senior, but the progress he has made in his time at WVU is notable.
“If he wants to be a dominant football player, then he needs to stay on his feet anf cross the goal line for touchdowns,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said after the game.
Of the 10 catches White had, three of them were inside the 10-yard line, with two of them ending inside the five. Even White acknowledged that shortcoming.
“I need to work on my technique and run through tackles,” he noted. “As far as running through tackles I just need to pick my feet up and I will be fine.”
4. William Crest took his first snaps in only his second game as a Mountaineer. Crest obviously understood the offense well enough as he scampered into the end zone on a zone read in the fourth quarter. The excitement about Crest's ability is potent among the fans, and for good reason. Holgorsen has nothing but high hopes and positive comments about Crest.
“His attention to what I am doing on the sidelines is off the chart,” said the head coach. “Very mature for a quarterback at this level for being a freshman.”
Crest brings a different dynamic to the game. He is a true dual-threat quarterback, that knows how to take notes from the coach, and understands the offense. That could be a recipe for success.
3. It doesn’t matter who is in the backfield with Clint Trickett, because every running back has shown they can produce. Rushel Shell quickly continued his tough running against Towson, and running backs coach JaJuan Seider said Shell just needs to slow the game down, and he’ll be even better. Wendell Smallwood ran the ball well, and caught the ball out of the backfield even better. Smallwood finished with almost 90 total yards. Finally, Andrew Buie showed that he can still play. Finishing the game with 70 yards and a touchdown was enough to impress coach Seider.
“That was the first time I’ve seen him be a football player,” Seider said. “You don’t want a running back thinking. If he’s thinking too much he isn’t a good running back.”
2. For WVU, having confidence is going to be the key to a successful season. Trickett understands where to go with the ball, the defensive backs are all performing well, but best of all the team has played well through two games, against different levels of competition. Beating Towson in blowout fashion is important because it keeps momentum rolling. The team looked like it was having fun while playing, something that wasn't evident at times last year. With confidence comes a willingness to reduce mistakes, and the potential to play even better.
1. The biggest takeaway from the game against Towson was Dana Holgorsen's approach to his job -- both on and off the field. Coaching at WVU is different than a lot of other places in the country. The fans might be as big a part of the program as the players. Mountaineer fans want to feel like they connect with the coaching staff and players. The head coach does not have longstanding ties to the Mountain State, but is doing everything he can to make sure his players understand the passion the fans have towards the team.
Pride in those connections is important, and with four or the nine assistants having grown up in West Virginia or played at WVU, it runs through the coaching staff too. Tony Gibson, Ron Crook, Damon Cogdell, and Ja’Juan Seider preach pride and passion to the players on a daily basis.