WVU’s lack of effort is concerning

Baffling, mind-boggling, confusing, frustrating.

Use what ever adjective you like and you will still come up short in attempting to describe West Virginia’s effort in a 35-12 loss at Kansas State on Saturday.

Whether it be the Mountaineers’ decision to forego a sure three points to end the first half or the coaching staff’s choice to pull junior quarterback Clint Trickett in favor of junior Paul Millard over the final 7:25 of the contest, nothing makes any sense.

Why in the world would you not attempt a 26-yard field goal that would put your team up by five, 12-7, as well as give it some much-needed momentum heading into the locker room at the intermission? Only third-year head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff know that answer.

One thing Mountaineer fans know is that their dreams of climbing to the top of the Big 12 Conference have now turned into nightmares about slipping into its cellar. A cellar rarely held by any program except the one in Lawrence (Kansas), but one fans of the old gold and blue should become accustomed to seeing if some drastic changes aren’t made in Morgantown over the next few months.

And, that doesn’t include the rumored departure of Director of Athletics Oliver Luck to the University of Texas.

Seven games into the season and the one thing that stands out about Holgorsen’s third Mountaineer squad is that it lacks the ‘heart’ to make plays-both offensively and defensively-to win games. The same lack of heart that allowed last year’s team to finish with a 7-6 mark after starting the season with five straight wins and a No. 5 national ranking.

Now, the program is just plain rank.

It smells on (as Holgorsen likes to say) all three sides of the ball. The offense lacks any kind of identity, the defense lacks the ability to stop an offense in the fourth quarter and special teams have become anything but special since former Oklahoma State assistant Joe DeForest was brought to town.

So, where does this team go from here?

Only the most ardent supporter of the old gold and blue can find the silver lining lurking behind this dark cloud. West Virginia will not be favored in a road game at TCU-WVU is 0-4 away from Milan Puskar Stadium this season and hasn’t won on the road since last year’s come-from-behind victory at Iowa State-nor will it be picked to upset a Texas Longhorn team bent on humbling a Mountaineer squad that dealt it a home loss last season.

For those counting, that would give WVU seven losses on the season and end its streak of 12 straight bowl games and send it to Kansas with only pride being on the line for the seniors on this year’s squad.

It will be hard to imagine any but the most loyal of Mountaineer fans showing up for the season finale against Iowa State. Almost as hard to imagine as the only team from the Mountain State to go bowling this December will be located in Huntington.

Contact Jim Butta at jbutta@newsandsentinel.com