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Inconsistency On Offense Continues to Plague WVU

November 13, 2008
By Mickey Furfari, For The Inter-Mountain

MORGANTOWN -Three-fourths into the football season and West Virginia University's offense is still struggling to attain some semblance of consistency.

Asked how he could explain that, offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen said that there are a lot of reasons why and that "I just take the blame for it and continue to try to coach."

His reasoning has been he's in charge of the offense and should shoulder the fault.

"There is a perception that clearly we have to do a better job," said Mullen, who came to WVU last February after being highly successful in the same role at Wake Forest. "We've been very inconsistent in a lot of areas. There have been some third-and-shorts that have really hurt us.

"We've got to do a better job. There's no question. As I've said, there are a lot of reasons for that (lack of consistency in the 26-23 loss to Cincinnati, for example)."

But Mullen emphasized that he's not going to point to any one person or group.

He noted, "We've all got areas to improve upon. I'm in charge of all of it. So I'll look at those areas and get those better."

West Virginia, whose chief strength since the turn of the century has been a powerful running attack, was held to a net 98 yards by Cincinnati. It was the first time since 2001 than a Mountaineer team had failed to top 100 yards rushing.

Like head coach Bill Stewart, Mullen said it's vital that those injured offensive players recover during this bye week and be able to go in the game at Louisville on Saturday. Nov. 22.

He revealed that Jarrett Brown is close to being 100 percent healthy now and can be helpful in positions other than No. 2 quarterback.

"It's going to be fun getting him back out there," he said.

Mullen noted that some big pass plays by Patrick White in the miraculous rally against Cincinnati are being studied as the coaches continue their efforts to produce more consistency on offense.

"We had a plan coming into the season trying to win them all," he recalled. "And to do that, we had to throw it out. It clearly helped us in a game like Auburn. So what we needed to do was be able teach that and do those kinds of things.

"If you're going to put time into the program, you're going to lose some time in the long run. And that's why we haven't been as consistent as people are used to around here. So out of one side of your mouth, you can continue to do the wrong stuff and come in to those games where they load the box and have some trouble and at the end of the year lose two or three games.

"Or you can go with the thought process that you're going to try to win 'em all and maybe lose a little bit in a couple of games. That helped us in some games, and you saw that vs. Cincinnati when we were able to get back in it."

Mullen said one of the things WVU has got to do is evaluate what it's doing in the run game and make sure that continues on a consistent basis.

He believes the Mountaineers will eventually need a balanced offense to give themselves a chance against most of the teams in the Big East.

That's the goal, but he thinks it is going to take some time to achieve.



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