Mountaineer offense remains out of sync

MORGANTOWN – It seems like if it’s not one thing with the West Virginia Mountaineers, it’s another.

Just as the defense looked like it had taken the next step as it forced four Oklahoma turnovers and held the Sooners to 16 points, the wheels fell off the WVU offense.

Quarterback Paul Millard looked out of sync with his receivers, the offense as a whole couldn’t hold onto the ball as it gave it away four times and scored only seven points, the lowest since Dana Holgorsen took over the program.

”I think we are closer on offense, but I accept full responsibility for seven points,” Holgorsen said. ”I don’t care who we are playing, it’s embarrassing. I’ve got the utmost respect for (Oklahoma coaches) Bob and Mike Stoops, but that being said, seven points is embarrassing, and we need to fix it.”

The Mountaineers will get the chance on Saturday when an 0-2 Georgia State squad enters Milan Puskar Stadium for a noon kickoff.

The Panthers are playing their inaugural FBS season and are looking for their first victory under first-year coach Trent Miles.

”They’re a young program,” Holgorsen pointed out. ”It’s Trent Miles’ first season there. He turned around Indiana State, while being there for four or five years, to the point that they were a pretty good FCS team. He takes the Georgia State job in its seventh year of football, and transitions them to the Sun Belt Conference. I think they will continue to get better. If Miles did it at Indiana State, I assume he can do it at Georgia State.”

Still, Rome wasn’t build in a day and neither will this young Panthers program, which has been outscored 73-35 and has gained only 51 rushing yards per game in its first two contests, numbers that should bode well against a Mountaineers defense that could be playing with a chip on its shoulder after Holgorsen called the unit’s play against Oklahoma ”just average.”

”They played alright, it was just average,” Holgorsen said. ”Coach (Keith) Patterson was explaining our board to them earlier with our goals, and with the goal on the end (the result of the game), we did not meet that goal. We would’ve had to hold them to six points to meet that goal. As crazy as that sounds, I understand that, but the way I view that and the way I portray that to our defensive guys is, you guys did a great job, your effort was tremendous, you got four turnovers, but you were the second-best defense on the field. I think that resonated with them. I think Keith is doing a great job, and he will be the first person to tell you that we are far from where we can be defensively.”

Same can be said about the Mountaineers offense, which has had trouble finding its identity early in the season.

WVU had 71 plays against William & Mary in a Week 1 victory, running the ball 44 times and passing it 27 times.

Those numbers virtually flipped against Oklahoma as the Mountaineers had 65 plays, 41 of which were passing compared to only 24 rushing attempts.

Take out Dreamius Smith’s 75-yard touchdown run against the Sooners and West Virginia gained only 94 yards on the ground.

Holgorsen has re-opened the quarterback competition, not only between Millard and Clint Trickett, but also with Ford Childress in the mix as well.

”We will see how their attitudes are,” Holgorsen said of the quarterbacks.