Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/23/13
West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett threw for 254 yards and a touchdown against Texas Tech (Dan Friend-USA TODAY Sports) The West Virginia Mountaineer offense racked up 437 total-yards against Texas Tech, which isn’t exactly an explosive effort, however some signs of gradual improvement were evident. Coming along at the pace of a snail, the West Virginia offense actually ran the ball with some consistency against the Red Raiders. Even though Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb threw for more yards than the entire West Virginia offense gained, the Mountaineers, believe it or not, actually resembled a balanced attack. Balance usually means success, but it has yet to show its face entirely. West Virginia ran the ball for 183 yards against Texas Tech and passed for 254 more, while quarterback Clint Trickett seemed to show a bit more poise than in past performances. There’s still some obvious flaws in Trickett’s game, but he seems to be closing in on success. Obviously, getting all the reps as the starter in practice should make him more comfortable. Trickett definitely showed improvement with the offensive terminology, so that’s a welcoming sight. It looks like he’ll be the starter from here on out, while Paul Millard will back him up. On the negative side, Trickett really needs to settle down in the pocket and go through his progressions. He’s still floating passes up in the air at times, and it nearly cost West Virginia against Texas Tech, had it not been for an interference call. While watching Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb, I took note of how calm and collected he was in the pocket for a freshman. I didn’t see the same with Trickett, he seems to fire the ball right away. I really believe Trickett has the ability to be a serviceable quarterback for the Mountaineers and that he might not be all that far off from doing so. All Trickett needs to be able to do is control the offense and manage the game. He throws the deep ball well in general, and the offensive game plan against Texas Tech allowed him to get into a bit of a rhythm with some shorter passes. On a positive note, the wide receivers are beginning to step up. Kevin White is starting to become the presence everyone thought he could be. West Virginia receiver Kevin White leaps to make a catch against Texas Tech (Photo courtesy: The Associated Press) White gives Trickett a nice big target to throw at, and he’s starting to gain some confidence and assert himself out there. West Virginia was clearly trying to exploit the size mismatch they had with White going against the Texas Tech secondary. White averaged 15.4 yards-per-catch against the Red Raider defense. If he can continue to evolve his game, he’ll become a big-time playmaker in this offense. Speaking of playmakers, the Mountaineers have two good ones in the backfield in Dreamius Smith and Charles Sims. Smith is starting to show some elusiveness and a knack for bouncing his runs outside. He showed great vision against the Texas Tech run defense, often hitting the cut-back lanes for big chunks of yardage. Sims was once again stellar against the Red Raiders, running for 77 yards on 15 carries. Last, but not least, the offensive line is beginning to show some improvement. It seems the Mountaineers have finally settled on a starting group up front, and they showed signs of playing like a cohesive unit against Texas Tech. The line must keep on showing up if West Virginia has any chance of winning a few more games. The Mountaineer offense didn’t show up in the fourth quarter against the Red Raiders, and it was eventually the reason for West Virginia’s demise this past Saturday. However painful the Texas Tech loss may have been to swallow, there is some reason for optimism coming down the stretch. For the first time this season, some stability seems to growing on the offensive side of the ball. Now that everyone knows Clint Trickett is the man under center going forward, it’s time for the offense to put together four quarters of solid play, and guide West Virginia back to a bowl game. We’ll see if even more improvement is evident this weekend at Kansas State.
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