Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Pat Eger points out blocking assignments during West Virginia’s 37-0 loss at Maryland on Saturday.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As badly as West Virginia’s offensive line appeared to struggle in realtime Saturday, the ensuing day’s click-and-rewind film study proved equally brutal.

“Yeah, it was bad,” said right tackle Curtis Feigt.

During a 37-0 loss that served as WVU’s first shutout since 2001, the offensive line accomplished virtually nothing against Maryland’s first-team defense. Seven of West Virginia’s 25 rushing attempts netted no gain or lost yardage, and the wilting pass protection left Ford Childress without a pocket. Though Childress’ interceptions were undeniably poor decisions by the redshirt freshman, each was thrown under heavy pressure.

After a preseason in which coaches promoted offensive line depth as a strength, should WVU forego its seven-man rotation and stick with the starting five? Line coach Ron Crook says no.

“We’re staying the course. We’re not going to hit the panic button,” he said Tuesday night. “We’re not going to change who we are or what we do.

“We believe in the people we’ve been putting on the field.”

Those people don’t project to be NFL-caliber—and to this juncture, it’s doubtful WVU’s line could crack the top half of the Big 12. Then again, it doesn’t require a collection of Outland Award candidates to function at a higher level than we saw Saturday, when Maryland’s defensive front created all kinds of disruption despite frequently being out-numbered.

During previous stints as an assistant at Stanford and Harvard, Crook recalled occasional games where the line play was inadequate. The bounce-back weeks, he emphasized, weren’t achieved by knee-jerk overreactions. (“You stay with what you believe in,” Crook said.)

Yet head coach Dana Holgorsen included the offensive line in his assertion earlier Tuesday that players need to be more relaxed and less fearful of committing mistakes. Playing relaxed can be a difficult philosophy to reconcile for an offensive line coach, whose players are smashing and wrestling at max-intensity each time the ball is snapped. Yet Crook imparted some useful elements from his boss’ message.

“You stress why they started playing football when they were young—because it was fun,” Crook said. “That doesn’t mean every aspect of practice is fun; certainly going out there and working a drive block drill for 10 minutes isn’t fun. But understand that’s part of the process to have a successful game Saturday, which is fun.”

These spread offense concepts, which to some degree were designed to assist mediocre offensive lines, could be better leveraged as West Virginia returns to its uptempo pace. Maybe Childress, after huddling up during his first two college starts, is more prepared to move into go-fast mode.

Said Crook: “It helps (offensive linemen) because it wears the defense down—makes them run more, makes them tired so they can’t rush the passer as hard.”

Of course, it’s impossible to establish rhythm and pace when the offense fails to pick up a first down, as was the case on eight of 12 West Virginia drives against Maryland.

“We did some good things, but mostly bad things, and we came in here Sunday and learned from it,” said center/guard Pat Eger. “We just need to get better at everything.”

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  • Jan McGlumphy

    Too many Monday morning Quarterbacks. Ford Childress has the potential to be very good. The biggest problem with this year's team is the offensive line. They are not giving Ford enough time to find his receivers and they are not sustaining blocks long enough for the backs to break free. Very simple fix. The line needs to play better and we are 3 and 1 or 4 and 0.

  • big tom

    every losing team in the big 12 is saying the same ole things that dana is trying to get across to his team,,, don't just off the ledge just yet, we can right this ship, we are this close to being good, we can make an impact in the big 12, we need to have fun, we need to adjust our attitudes, etc, etc...
    remember, talk is cheap, improving our offensive line takes more the pma, it takes talent and dedicated coaching.
    mainly, we don't have the talent, I think we have the coaching. Crook coached at Stanford and did a very good job...talented players, makes coaching much easier,
    It is up to this coaching staff to get out on the road and bring in better talent,,, it remains to be seen if that can happen.
    I have pretty much written off this season already,with the tough part of the schedule ahead of us, we just are not very good, and may win 1- 2 more games.

  • Dennis

    The coaches will not hit the "Panic Button" until the donors and season ticket holders close their wallets.

  • big tom

    consider this, wvu has one scoring drive against two bcs teams

    why didn't holgie push the "it's my fault " button after the oklahoma game

    that game should have told him something. Now, after four games, we have to change. Well dana you're getting 2.5 million bucks to think this one up. Most CEO's would have been questioning themselves before the debacle at Maryland.

    the biggest question in my mine, is not if we beat okla state, but if we score a point.
    I say Okla State will score close to if not 50 pts on us, and then we'll realize our defense is inadequate, just like last yr. and they won't be their to save the offense.
    "We're this much away from being good" is coach speak, and holgie can't believe this, I know I don't. I've seen all four games, we're terrible. Let's face it and accept reality

  • Uncle Unctuous

    The headline "Crook vows no panic on line personnel" is serviceable, but I would have preferred "Crook vows no parking on the dance floor."

  • Hoppy

    Ford Childress has a bright future ahead of him at WVU. The "kid" will develop into a solid QB. Ford Childress has a horrible OFFENSIVE LINE & the coach isn't opening up the entire playbook for him. Coach Holgorsen has already made the statement that he intends to open up the playbook up to Childress to possibly make a mistake. Did any of you catch the post game interview? Hologorsen even made the statement that he was scared the freshmen QB might make a huge mistake.

    Maryland scored 1 TD in the second half of the game & two of there scores were a fluke. A muffed punt and a interception by a "freak athlete" LB that made a acrobatic catch. I wish you people on this site possessed better critical thinking skills.

  • Big Larry



    WVU head football coach Dana "The Man in Black" Holgorsen has moved up to number 9 in this weeks official Coaches Hot Seat Ranking...

    This must make Oliver awful proud of his prize coach...

    • Janem

      @ Big Larry ... Ask yourself a couple questions do you really support anything about WVU... You always say Then on the next line

      Negative negative negative criticism criticism criticism.. I would say you probably have never been to Morgantown to see a ballgame might go to Walmart or Kmart and buy a hat or shirt and holler I am a Mountaineer... Every game you see it's on TV and then you read all this junk about West Virginia out the local newspaper...ESPN.... I don't think you know how to support the team.... I doubt if you even leave the house for the more than once a week if that.... In reality you do not care about WVU you just are a Marshall fan who is jealous,, because Oliver luck will not schedule Marshall anymore...

      • Big Larry


        Just so you will know, I always go to Kroger once a week to stock up on Tom's Cheese Puffs and Coke Zero for the big WVU football game. When I do, I always wear my Black WVU cap and tee shirt to honor Dana "The Man in Black" Holgorsen.

        I then come back to my trailer where I enjoy watching the Mountaineers on my 32 inch Big Screen TV.

        After the game is over...then I cry. What more can I do?

    • Shawn

      For the last time...he wears black so the QB can see him on the sidelines.

  • big tom

    can't seem to get my comments posted ,, many are posted after mine,,, taylor must not like reality statements

  • chad

    Good lord I hope they change who they are and what they do.

    Right now who the are: A terrible offensive line. What they do: Well they don't run or pass block very well and can't pick up a blitz, so I guess all they DO is take up space.

    Didn't Holgerson say yesterday they were going to change the way they do everything?

  • Gunga Din

    Bottom 10 -- We can't get much lower.

  • JimJim

    Ware black at Saturday's game to support the team.

  • Bobby M

    WHAT??!! Play MORE relaxed?!!!? How can you play ANY more relaxed THAN you already ARE?

    Did you see that 50 yarder field goal KICK by Maryland and how OUR players seemed they WERE bothered to even TRY to block it because THEY just stood up ALL mansy-pansy!

    Spot IT UP! Let IT rip!

  • David J.

    “We’re not going to change who we are or what we do."

    I am reminded that those who do not change are left behind. Here is hoping Crook and his ego are left behind next year.

  • cutty77

    The problem on the O-Line is Pat Enger. He has played every place he could on the line,not very good at any of them. You can't hide him. Whats funny everybody last year wanted to know what was wrong with Geno Smith,he's no good and this and That. Now he is a starting QB in The NFL with a 2-1 record. Better than 2 Super Bowl QB's Eli Manning,and Big Ben of the Steelers. Its a Team Game. Plus we have some THE DUMBEST FANS IN THE COUNTRY TOO.

    • William

      @Cutty - You like guys with POOR CHARACTER? What a mess WVU football is!
      Tell me some good things about HOLGERSON? I'll be waiting to see how long the list is.

      • Uncle Unctuous

        They used to say "Might makes right."

        I guess these days it's caps lock and the inability to spell surnames that makes right.

      • Big Larry


        Holgorsen is an offensive guru & genius...

        Oh one more thing...

        "Love your work"

    • hailey

      As you single out Pat... you have JUST confirmed we have some of THE DUMBEST FANS IN THE COUNTRY

      • cutty77

        @ hailey,
        The Smeller's the Feller. lol

    • Bobby M

      Some OF the dumbest???!! HELLO! YES WE DO! And guess what? One of them JUST make a comparison of Geno Smith to Eli Manning AND Ben Rosthelsburgers!


  • big tom

    if all of our mistakes, which were many, are correctable than why did they make them in the first place,,,i place this squarely on the staff for not having them ready to play.
    if all it takes to correct those mistakes is a few practices, then the coaches are God Like.
    I seriously think we were beaten physically, and I don't think we can overcome that. Coaching was terrible,, I think of t he cignetti era and throw up at how inept our offense is.
    say what you want, but wishing and hoping isn't going to make us better,,, talent helps a lot,, and we're short on it, ,, how many JC's did we bring in ,,, 9?,,, that shouldtell all eer fans where we're at ,,, we don't reload like the big boys, we rebuild, this has been going on for 50 yrs. since we left the southern conf.
    get use to it,, reality strikes again