The Great Debate

Now that the Mountaineers' bowl hopes have been extinguished, the hottest topic has been how to use the last two games of the season.

One side of the debate says that with postseason hopes gone, seniors should be mostly benched to give underclassmen playing time for next year.

The other side points out that simply dumping seniors because of their class status isn't a good way to treat current players.

We lean more toward the latter argument, but with the addendum that backups ought to see some additional time during the last two games. Seniors should still start and play, especially those who have performed well and worked hard throughout their careers. They deserve it.

However, there shouldn't be anything wrong with getting some of those underclassmen some time. Let's see Adam Lehnortt and Quentin Swain at linebacker for a couple of series. Put in Justin Williams, Jeff Berk and Geoff Lewis for an offensive sequence. A balance can be struck that gets the young guys some time without dumping the seniors off the map.

Which leads us to the hot-button for this issue: Brad vs. Rasheed.

We agree with coach Rodriguez that the objective is to win these last two games, and that the player who gives WVU the best chance to do that should receive the bulk of the playing time.

For much of this season, we think that player has been Brad Lewis. However, over the last couple of games, our thinking has shifted a bit. Against Syracuse, Lewis was unable to get the offense into the end zone despite several excellent starting points in field position. Sure, those failures weren't all Brad's fault, but as Coach Rod has noted, the quarterback is the point guard and catalyst of the offense.

Rasheed Marshall
When Rasheed Marshall entered the game, he promptly gave up the game clinching score, but also managed to drive WVU the length of the field for a score against a defense that was playing an all out pass rush against him.

Yes, it was only one drive, but during that drive Rasheed showed the ability to avoid a pass rush and run the ball for positive yardage. That's a skill that Brad just doesn't have.

In the end analysis, neither Rasheed nor Brad is throwing the ball very well right now. With that play phase a draw, Rasheed gets the nod due to his ability to run with the ball.

Let us reiterate that Brad should not be benched. He should still play. However, denying Rasheed the opportunity to play might be just as unfair to this year's team as it is to next year's squad.

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