About Time People Stop Talking About Nehlen

Don Nehlen was the coach at WVU for the last twenty-one years. The key word in that sentence? "Was".

Nehlen deserves more respect than anyone here can ever give him. At times he was treated poorly by some of the fans, and at time he was treated wonderfully. He helped build the WVU program into what it is today.

But Coach Nehlen is now a TV color man for the MAC game of the week. And Rich Rodriquez is now the coach. He has been the coach now for almost eleven months.

It is about time some people came out of the clouds and gave the new coach some respect too.

He told us from the start that it would be a struggle. He told us from the start that the schemes are difficult to learn. The statistics from his previous teams point out that they were much better in the second year than they were in the first.

This team is struggling right now. But really the only thing they struggled to do on offense against Kent was punch it into the endzone. 500 yards of offense, along with some excellent kick returns by Shawn Terry.

Brad Lewis was a "horrendous" 27-34 (that's 79%, folks) in the passing game. Hello?! Whilst everyone is piling on Brad, consider that if he hadn't had TWO sure catches dropped on him in the first half, his passing percentage would have been 85.2% for the game. Just what do some people expect?

While WVU doesn't track single game records for completion percentage, Lewis' day ranks above most of the top completion games in history, including Marc Bulger's 32-43 (68%) day against Miami in 1998 and Oliver Luck's 34-48 (71%) performance against Syracuse in 1981.

The problem, however, is that on those other five incompletions, the receivers were all open from here to there. But give the kid a break, even John Elway doesn't complete every pass.

I will tell you this, I wanted to see Derek Jones play as much as anyone. I have seen him in practice, and I wanted to see what he could do on the field. But Brad was hot in the second half, and they were building some momentum in the third quarter. As badly as Jones needed to hit the field and get some experience, Brad needed to get some chemistry going with his offense. And I think Brad looked a lot better in the second half.

So what do we read in the paper this morning? We read about Nehlen's offense. Nehlen this, and Nehlen that. We may as well start the Rich must Go chants now. Because the media is never going to get it.

Well, to the smart guys, here it is: This offense is not a throw the ball on every down offense. This offense is not a finesse offense. This offense is built to take what the defense gives it, and exploit it.

Do some of you fish hacks think that Rich went in at the half of the Ohio game and broke out Don's playbook and made up some signs real quick? Does anyone really believe that power football was just installed in this offense because the current team cannot run Rich's offense? If you do, you are as gullible as a first grader.

Pace? Can someone more professional than me give me a tally on the delay of game penalties we have suffered in three games?

Can anyone smarter than me give a count of the number of timeouts we have called because we couldn't get the play in on time?

Does anyone here understand, that this offense, which Coach Rod thinks isn't running fast enough, if you can believe that, is getting plays off before the clock gets below 12 seconds on every play?

Kent State called four defensive timeouts yesterday. Four.

Ohio called three two weeks ago.

And it had everything to do with our offense and its tortoise pace.

It is time to stop with the Nehlen comparison. And it is time to start giving Coach Rod some credit. There aren't many coaches who are able to completely switch gears in the middle of the game, or season, like we have in the last two games. There aren't many coaches who run a four and five wide shotgun offense, as their main set, and also have a two tight end one wide-out set, that works all over the field. There aren't too many offenses that snap the ball so fast, that you can't even look at the replay on the video board, or you'll miss the next play. Give it time. They will get it. And when they do, it will be a sight worth seeing.

P.S. I wasn't happy with yesterday's performance. I thought we should have won by 50. I think the rest of the year will be a struggle, and I was one who predicted we would win nine or ten this year. I still think we can win six games. I also still think we could win eight games.

But we won't win six or eight without some better execution. And a lot of improvement. They need to eliminate the penalties and the turnovers. Oh yeah, and people will notice the difference when Grant Wiley comes back on the field.

But the Maryland game is the key. Win it, and at 3-1 there are some good possibilities. Lose it, and it could be a long year.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories