It has been quite some time since West Virginia University Mountaineer football fans have witnessed as inept a football team as we observed on Saturday. In 2001, West Virginia struggled to a 3-8 record, and frankly there is nothing we have seen through the first third of the 2013 season that tells us it will be much better this fall.
Ironically, the once maligned WVU defense has significantly improved. Despite the appearance of the humbling 37-0 pounding administered by Maryland, the defense actually was respectable. The Terps were held to 17 first downs, 330 total yards and committed two turnovers. Until the fourth quarter, the only Maryland touchdowns were scored after turnovers at the West Virginia 24 and 6 yard lines. Not a sensational performance by any means, but put that level of play of defense with the WVU offense in 2012, and we would have seen a lot more wins last season.
Unfortunately, this isn't the 2012 offense. Far from it. West Virginia were as many turnovers (6) as first downs (6). The Mountaineers were shutout for the first time in 12 years and gained only 175 total yards. The once prolific passing attack of Dana Holgorsen garnered all of 62 yards with but a single reception to a wide receiver all afternoon. New starting quarterback Ford Childress was totally ineffective. The running attack was punchless. Overall the offense was, well, hopeless.
One has to wonder where Coach Holgorsen and his staff can find answers. Presumably the best players are already out there starting, and past history tells us the scheme is sound.
Perhaps when we saw an offensive line that couldn't consistently control the line of scrimmage against the likes of William & Mary and Georgia State, it was a huge red flag.
Mountaineer fans understood that this team would slip after losing outstanding players on the offensive side of the ball, but no one could have foreseen how far this team apparently has fallen. Sure, they could still improve, if for no other reason than they couldn't get any worse. But a 37-point deficit to Maryland? That's a lot of ground to make up.
And it doesn't help to see a head coach discard his headset before the third quarter is even over. Not a good message to send.
Perhaps it could all be summed up by what my fellow Monday Morning Quarterback Oz Campbell once said many years ago: If your punter is your outstanding player, then you know you've had a long day.
So where do we Mountaineer fans go from here? Well, before we worry about how low we feel right now take a look at the schedule over the next several weeks: Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, TCU, Kansas State, Texas. Not encouraging.
This Saturday: The sun came up this Monday morning and there will be another football game in Morgantown Saturday so time marches on. Big 12 conference play resumes as No. 11 Oklahoma State comes visiting for the first time. The Cowboys were off last week and let's hope they were watching the Mountaineers because if they were, some complacency might set in.
Or perhaps they will be a little flat playing in an early start for the first time this season. Or maybe we're just grasping at straws.
Oklahoma State 27, West Virginia 10.