This almost happened last week, and then it really did happen this week, and we promise we'll try to avoid it in the future. What am I babbling about? My guest this week is our colleague WVUIE97 from The Smoking Musket, who coincidentally just happens to be the same person Ahearn talked to in this week's Bring on the Podcast, which you should go listen to if you haven't already. We covered many of the same topics, but not all (or at least not quite in the same fashion), so it's all good. And going forward we'll try and make sure we're getting two different voices.
But enough of that. Let's talk to WVUIE97!
Jon: First things first: Obviously getting out of the Big East was a win, regardless of where the Mountaineers landed. After a year to acclimate, and trying to separate the feelings as much as possible from simple relief at still being at the big boy table... how's the fanbase feeling about their new pals in the Big 12?
WVUIE97: Despite our struggles, most reasonable fans love the fact that we have a home schedule to look forward to each season. There is still a faction of fans that grumble that they can't travel to away games near as easily, which is somewhat understandable, but I think it's a fair trade. Besides, the money that we're bringing in now even with a partial Big 12 share is still better than the best years in the old Big East.
Jon: Along those lines, what do you feel has been the most hostile venue in the conference so far, and where do you expect Bill Snyder Family Stadium to land on that list after Saturday?
WVUIE97: Oklahoma seemed pretty hostile, but I'd have to go with Texas Tech last season. I hope it's just the vocal minority but we saw a couple of reports from fans not being treated so well. Like I said, this is second-hand reports and hopefully overblown, because we can relate to having an overblown reputation.
Jon: I've only gotten to watch about 10 quarters of West Virginia football so far this year, but one thing I've noticed is that Clint Trickett seems to be a bit of a loose cannon out there sometimes -- and I had that feeling reinforced by something I heard regarding Holgorsen being a little perturbed that Clint just wasn't doing what he's told to do sometimes. Is there some frustration with Trickett among the WVU fanbase?
WVUIE97: Definitely. There have been some plays where it was obvious to everyone that he didn't call Holgorsen's play. There was an example, I think against Baylor, when he had them run a zone-read-option. Wait. What? In the same breath, I would also chalk that up to the well-documented communication problems Trickett and Holgorsen have had. During the Texas Tech game those same communication issues seemed to be alleviated except maybe a play or two (vs. several whole series in the past).
Jon: West Virginia has seemed to have a lot of patience in the past with coaches; even Bill Stewart still seemed to have a lot of support before the "coach in waiting" plan fell apart due to infighting. That said, how warm do you think Holgorsen's seat is right now?
WVUIE97: From a decent portion of the fanbase perspective, it's fairly warm. From the administration's perspective, there doesn't seem to be any public heat, but I have no real insight for behind the scenes. What would be interesting to find out would be the boosters POV. There has been no real public outcry (yet) from any of the big names such as Ken Kendrick (Arizona Diamondbacks owner) that I'm aware of like there was before with Coach Stewart.
Jon: Obviously, most of our readers are at least familiar with Holgorsen, but could you describe Dana's coaching philosophies from an everyday observer perspective?
WVUIE97: To the casual observer, he tends to be a bit reckless. Take for example last week's game against Texas Tech. Early in the game with 4th and 14 in field goal range...he went for it. It was a questionable decision at best, and one that even he admitted was a mistake in the post-game presser. That's probably more of an answer on his in-game decisions than his philosophy. The philosophy seems to be one of balance, but take what the defense gives you. If they are loading the box every play... he won't run for the sake of balance. The opposite is true as well.
Jon: For our readers who haven't had a chance to see WVU much this year, what can we expect, and who should we be keeping a close eye on?
WVUIE97: Our running back tandem of Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith. They've been effective when used consistently. Both have the ability to break the big ones, but Smith has been more consistent with the long runs. Sims has obvious talent and ability, but tends to dance a lot more than I would like. Kevin White and Daikiel Shorts are emerging as playmakers at the receiver position. Those two still need to get a bit more consistent though.
Jon: What are your biggest concerns on the K-State side of the ball this week?
WVUIE97: My concern is if Coach Snyder can figure out a way to slow this year's Baylor team down, what the hell is he going to cook up to stop an inconsistent offense such as ours has been? He seems to find a way to make K-State competitive even when they have no business being so (not to imply that K-State shouldn't be competitive against WVU at all, just an example).
Jon: Lastly, of course, what's your prediction for Saturday?
WVUIE97: I hate predictions, but as with last week...if we can win the turnover battle, be efficient on 3rd down (both sides) and get consistent line play... WVU should have a chance to win. Make stupid mistakes and turn the ball over ourselves and K-State will take care of business.
Much thanks to WVUIE97, and our apologies for accidentally pulling him into double duty this week. Next week, we'll try and be sure to get more than one Cyclone in the mix. That shouldn't present too much of a challenge, right?