Mountaineers Unfazed

A disappointing loss to a top 25 team might leave some rebuilding football teams confused and struggling for answers. That doesn't appear to be the case with West Virginia as they prepare for a critical game with Cincinnati.

Quarterback Rasheed Marshall, who missed converting several opportunities for big plays, remained calm and collected as practice resumed this week.

"I wasn't intimidated at all. I can make those plays, and given more chances I will. We just missed on a few. I have to stand in there and deliever the ball. If they hit me they hit me. We got on track in the second half. It was not that I was pumped or anything. I missed them. But I will get it."

That's the type of confidence that the erratic Mountaineer offense needs to hear from one of its leaders. Identify the problems, fix them, and move along.

And, truth be told, WVU's offense has improved from last season. Had WVU faced the Badgers during the 2001 campaign, they likely would have been shut out, and certainly wouldn't have mustered the 399 yards they did on offense.

Other than one first half snafu that resulted in a timeout, the West Virginia offense again moved players on and off the field smoothly. And there certainly wasn't anything wrong with the scheming done by the offensive coaches, which resulted in several opportunities that the team just missed cashing.

"I know how close we were," offensive lineman Lance Nimmo said of those chances. "It was a matter of inches, of feet.

"They weren't as physical as we thought they would be. I mean, I feel like someone beat me up in my sleep last night. But we were more physical than they were. We were so close, so close. It wasn't them, it was us. But that is on us and we have to correct it and get better."

The nearness of those plays was disheartening, but last year WVU didn't even come close to making those kinds of plays. This year, they are in position to make them. If they can take the next step and convert a few of them, then they will have taken the next major step in the rebuilding process.


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