Disappearance of WVU Defense Hard to Understand

Where's the D? Quite simply, the Mountaineers have got to play better defense. From fundamental breakdowns to a lack of execution, the defense has been a major disappointment this season.

I am sympathetic to some of the injury problems and understand that this is a new style of defense, but we are six games into the season, so there are no more excuses.

We have talent on this defense, and it's time to buckle down and start swarming to the football and playing with reckless abandonment. When it comes down to it, defense is tackling, and we aren't getting it done in the tackling category.

In my opinion, the ineffectiveness has nothing to do with a lack of effort or intensity. These kids are playing hard. I'm not sure if it is a lack of talent, depth or instruction, but there have been too many breakdowns. I would imagine that this coming off-week would have a theme of "back to the basics" for the D. If not, it should! We need more production from the D in the second half of the season.

Just stop the run. That's all I ask. Make teams beat us through the air. We have a talented enough secondary to play press coverage and stack the middle.

Throughout my stint as a Mountaineer, we hung our hats on a defense that shut down opposing teams on the ground – ferocious defenses that put fear in the eyes of its opponents. This year's sieve-like D has opposing coaches smiling with confidence. They must think of our D as "soft" or "gravy." As uncomfortable as this makes me, I can't imagine how our coaches feel.

The 345 yards the Mountaineer defense surrendered to the Irish on the ground was not exactly a freak of nature. It has become habitual. This WVU D is on pace to have their names etched in the Mountaineer history books, but on the wrong side of the ledger. Giving up an average of 246 yards a game rushing this season, the Mountaineers have not allowed this many yards since 1978. Not good!

When you add the defensive woes in with an offense that is having problems executing, you get a 2-4 season. But this is not unexpected. Is it?

To this point, our opponents, with a combined record of 35-27 last season, have fared much better than expected this season. We have lost four games thus far to teams with a combined record of 17-5. The once weak schedule has turned out to be rather impressive.

With this said, we should not be disappointed and give up on this team. They need our support. There are some wins left on the schedule.

Notre Dame had a sellout crowd of 80,795 in the stands to watch their 1-3 Irish play the 2-3 Mountaineers in the pouring rain. That's support. It says something to me about the pride their fans have for their team. Take heed to this Mountaineer fans! Through thick and thin, our fans need to support their Mountaineers. We have five games left, and with the exception of the nation's best, the Miami Hurricanes, we can compete talent for talent with the rest of the teams on our schedule. Be true to yourselves and this team, and don't be a fair weather fan, be a Mountaineer and show some pride and support.

Well, it's an off week for the Mountaineer football team, and I know what it's like to come off a tough loss – miserable. But we have to put this one behind us and concentrate on becoming better each week. We need to mend our wounds, both physically and emotionally, and come together as a team. These times typically tell you who's with you and who's against you. We'll see.

I know the futures bright for Mountaineer football, and I trust we are all with them. Have a great weekend off. Be safe.

Former Mountaineer tight end Chad Wable writes a weekly column for the print version of the Blue & Gold News. For more of Chad's thoughts, plus expanded coverage of all WVU sports, subscribe today!

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