The fall from the top of the College Football perch for the West Virginia Mountaineers took four games. After defeating Texas in front of the largest crowd to ever watch the Mountaineers play, they climbed into the Top-5 in the polls, and had an inside edge on reaching the BCS National Championship Game. Geno Smith was the Heisman favorite. Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey were almost unstoppable and in the Heisman conversation.
Then, two stunning blowout losses came at the hands of Texas Tech and Kansas State, a double-OT loss to TCU and a 21-point loss to Oklahoma State handed WVU their first 4-game losing streak
in 26 years since Rich Rodriguez’s first season at WVU in 2001.
There are a number of factors that came in to play that might help explain this losing streak, the biggest is the increase on competition. This isn’t the Big East anymore. Gone are the games against Rutgers, UConn and PITT. The Mountaineer defense is young and still learning a new defensive scheme. Opposing defenses are starting to figure out the spacing that Dana Holgorsen likes to create for his receivers.
Then, there are the rumblings of unrest in the locker room. In the past two weeks, the team announced that Ivan McCartney and Travares Copeland are no longer with the team.
To help get his team re-focused for this weekend’s huge game against Oklahoma, Dana Holgorsen is calling in the big guns. Some of the most recognizable names, and best players in WVU history, are on their way to Morgantown to help motivate the team.
Pat White, Bruce Irvin, Jeff Hostetler, Chris Neild and Julian Miller all received phone calls from Holgorsen after this past weekend’s loss to the Cowboys.
“Coach Holgorsen sent me a text, and then called me,” Pat White told us,” asking if I were in Morgantown. If I could come and talk to the team. I said, I wasn’t at that time, but I will be there.”
White spoke to us from an airport, waiting for a plane to whisk him back to Morgantown. “So, myself, Jeff (Hostetler), Bruce (Irvin), Chris (Neild) and Julian (Miller) are going to go to practice and speak with the team and try to spark the flame.”
The majority of the players on the team come from outside of West Virginia. One thing Dana Holgorsen has learned in his short time as head coach is how big a part of state culture the football team is.
“He wants for us to tell the players what the team means to the state,” White said. “There are no professional teams in the state. West Virginia football means a lot to the people.
“But not only that,” he continued, “you see the players out there thinking about every move, like they are afraid to make mistakes. I’m going to make them believe in themselves. Just go full speed. Let their training take over. Their bodies know where they are supposed to be.”
Can this group of WVUPros legends help right the ship against a hot Oklahoma team this Saturday?
“We’re going to bring in the mojo,” White said.