Reeling West Viriginia not in an OK state
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — One team is looking for a top-10 ranking. The other is simply looking for respect.
That is the scene as No. 11 Oklahoma State (3-0) travels to face West Virginia (2-2) at noon Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium in a nationally televised game.
While Oklahoma State was off last week, West Virginia suffered a 37-0 loss to Maryland in Baltimore.
In the process, WVU lost its starting quarterback Ford Childress to a torn pectoral muscle. Childress completed just 11 of 22 passes — one to a wide receiver — for only 62 yards while being intercepted twice, leading to a pair of Maryland touchdowns.
With Florida State transfer Clint Trickett filling in for Childress, it sets up a head-to-head confrontation between coaches' sons.
Oklahoma State starts dual-threat J.W. Walsh, who was recruited by WVU coach Dana Holgorsen during the year he served as offensive coordinator for the Cowboys.
Holgorsen pushed for Walsh because he was a coach's son.
“He's a winner,” Holgorsen said. “He falls in the long line of Texas high school coaches' kids. ... Being a coach's kid, watching him win games with the intangibles he has, you can see that on the sidelines and in practice. You can take those guys and make their skills better, and obviously they have.”
Walsh's dad, John, is a well-known coach in the Dallas area. The younger Walsh was a top-rated recruit the same year Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater were coming out of high school.
In a way, this is WVU's last gasp for respectability.
Another blowout loss, especially at home, and WVU will be in deep trouble with No. 19 Baylor and No. 24 Texas Tech lined up for the next two games.
Trickett's father, Rick, is a veteran offensive line coach at Florida State who spent six years as WVU's offensive line coach.
Trickett had some moments at FSU, including a 356-yard passing effort as a fill-in starter against Clemson, but he could not get transferred in time for spring drills and was too far behind when the season started to win the starting role.
His main job will be to get the receivers involved in the offense against a solid but not complicated defense.
“They've been running the same system there for a while,” Holgorsen said.
“The scheme is not that tough. They are going to play four down. They are going to play a couple different coverages. They are mixing in some man coverage as well. They are not going to blitz a bunch, but they coach really hard on effort and technique.”
Bob Hertzel is a freelance writer.