Well, it is far too early to lower the boom on West Virginia University’s offensive line, but after Saturday’s 31-0 win over Coastal Carolina, the play of the offensive line will be under close scrutiny. That is because West Virginia struggled to establish its running game against the Chanticleers. The offensive line was a big question mark coming into the game, and it remains a question mark as WVU prepares for its game with Marshall this Friday night.
Noel Devine needed 23 carries to get 111 yards on the ground. That is not a particularly good stat coming against a 1AA team that was just 5-6 last season. Yeah, 31-0 isn’t a bad result, but the Mountaineers were up just 10-0 at the half.
The defense did post a rare shutout, so perhaps the praise being heaped on that unit is deserved. The bottom line is we really don’t know very much after one game against an inferior opponent. We’ll find out plenty after the visit to Huntington this week. We will certainly know much more after the month of September.
Marshall was trounced 45-7 at Ohio State last week, but it seems many of the Thundering Herd fans view their loss to the Buckeyes as a sign of strength and WVU’s win as a sign of weakness. At least that is what one could surmise from looking at some message board banter as some in that neck of the woods are calling for an easy Herd victory.
The lack of explosiveness missing from the WVU attack obviously has raised the hopes for the Marshall fans. That is understandable too. West Virginia will need to be improved in its running game to avoid being in a dogfight with the Herd. Maybe the blocking along the line can be fixed, maybe not, but putting Devine in the I formation could be a good starting point to boost the running game. Having a big back in front of him could do wonders.
I expect to see more of the I formation as the season evolves as well as a number of other wrinkles that I’m sure were not put in for the Coastal Carolina game. In any event, Friday will be interesting.