Where Is The Missing Link?
I'm sure many Mountaineer fans, like myself, are starting to question the true identity of this team. What are their true strengths, weaknesses, and issues causing the inconsistency from week to week. A couple things have stood out to me as I have watched the games this season. Obviously the receivers have been a question mark, along with some interesting play calls here and there throughout games. Now don't shoot the messenger but here are just a couple guys that need to become more involved in order to gain some consistency as we finish the home stretch of this football season.
Exree Loe is a name that WVU fans got a taste of last season as a sophomore. The Johnstown, PA native has a high ceiling with tons of potential, and it has started to shine through in spurts this season. Although statistically his numbers may be underwhelming, his presence on the field has been felt due to contributions not in the stat books. With high potential, the urgency to see results increases, and personally I think the time has come for the switch to flip. Not everyone has the potential to take that step, but Loe is just one of those guys that is destined to take flight once the spark ignites. If he can find away to make himself more involved while on the field, he could be crucial to finding success on the defense the rest of this season.
On the other side of the ball, there is a guy who as of last season appeared to be a lock for leadership and production coming into this season. T.J. Simmons appears to be one of the happiest dudes out there on the field. He truly loves to play the game, and after a rocky start to this season, it seems that things are starting to click for him. Over the past two games we have seen him become slightly more involved in the offense and his confidence has appeared to skyrocket. This could be huge for a Mountaineer's offense who have seemed to sputter in critical downs and red zone situations. Simmons is a big body receiver with the ability to go up and get it against any DB in the Big 12. In my opinion, he is the spark this offense is looking for. If he can come out and assert himself as the #1 dude amongst the receivers it could mean big rewards as the season goes on.
Ultimately, play-calling has definitely been concerning this season. An interesting tidbit I found out last weekend was that Neal Brown calls the plays until WVU gets into the red-zone and then those duties are handed off to Gerad Parker. Now I can neither confirm nor deny if this is in fact true, but this seems odd. The Mountaineers have not appeared to have trouble moving down the field when given decent starting field position. The issue has been once they enter the red-zone. So realistically if the play-calling rumors are true, it would seem that maybe Brown should keep ahold of the reigns.
Although these players and situations may not be the fix all we want, I believe these players stepping their game up could be highly beneficial for the Eers. With the Horned Frogs coming to town this weekend, keep an eye on these names and see if they can find a way to become more involved in the game. A small elevation of involvement could result in high levels of performance and results.