Film Won’t Hide Mountaineer Mistakes in Win - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Film Won’t Hide Mountaineer Mistakes in Win


Celebrations on the field Saturday left the visiting team and its fans feeling sky high about what had just transpired moments ago.

The mindless dancing, the jawing with opposing fans who had heckled WVU all day and ultimately the postgame locker room jubilation showed just how much a win meant to the Mountaineers, who had felt equally low just seven days before.

"I erupted," says Stedman Bailey. "I was all over the field, talking to their fans a little bit and I just felt great. I showed a lot of love."

This was, however, far from a perfect game. The message will be adversity and the ability to overcome, but that message has existed all year. West Virginia entered the season as the clear favorite to win the Big East, and instead, it's barely hanging on as a contender.

Winning cures everything, and the hope within that locker room in Cincinnati is that the positives that can be taken from such a victory will act as a springboard heading into the bye week, the Backyard Brawl and beyond.

But at some point, they'll come back down to earth to see the opportunities that existed offensively on Saturday they let slip away or the missed assignments and missed tackles on defense.

Excited as they were to win, it's the coaches' job to remind their players that there was some bad football that transpired before Eain Smith's field goal block.

Sunday is the day WVU will be faced with the reality that the rushed field, the impromptu jigs and the cheers from the stands could have existed for the Bearcats just as easily as they did for the Mountaineers.

"Sunday's going to be a rough day," says offensive lineman Joe Madsen. "You have to go in there and watch it and just close your eyes and say, ‘Yeah, I did that.' But you get through it."

Imagine how much easier it will be for them to open their eyes and take in the bad aspects of a win than it has been to sit through film of three losses. When people reflect on the season years from now, they won't bother to dissect each win and determine how pretty it was – they'll only care that it counted as a win.

That same attitude can't exist within the season, though. If the Big East has proven anything this year, it's that any team can win on any given day, and West Virginia still has two teams and two given days ahead of it.

Penalties that plagued the Mountaineers cannot continue if the offense wants to extend drives and the defense wants to end them. You can blame the officiating all you want, and it was evident that some players had done just that, but 14 flags weren't thrown for nothing.

Keep on punting off the side of your foot and an offense will take advantage of its field position. Don't block up front and combine that with a low kick and you won't hit any field goals.

Think back to the fundamentals of tackling and remember that sometimes the big hit may look flashier, but it isn't always more effective. Especially remember that if it involves hitting your own teammate by accident.

The same improvements need to be made from a coaching standpoint, too. Execution isn't the only aspect of WVU's game to have gone awry at various points throughout Saturday's dragging 60 minutes.

In the end, you can look at two statistics and as a team focus on making sure those two remain in your favor through two regular season games and one bowl matchup.

West Virginia won the turnover battle 2-1 and won the battle on the scoreboard 24-21.

Those stats will go a long way in erasing all the negatives that will inevitably show up when the Mountaineers sit down as a team Sunday and keep their eyes open just long enough to see Saturday's events from a far different angle than what they experienced just a day ago.

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