WVU Coaches, Players Question Confidence in Loss - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Coaches, Players Question Confidence in Loss


It's a cliché in football when a coach says his team can't let one loss become two. It isn't often that the second loss comes after a bye week.

When players and coaches emerged from the locker room after Saturday's setback to Texas Tech, some of them looked back to the blowout at Baylor and admitted they may have lost something in that result that carried over two weeks later to the result in Morgantown.

"I didn't see us playing with that swagger and that confidence today," said defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. "It's almost like we were in position at times, but where earlier in the season we were finishing those plays. We didn't take one step back at Baylor. We took two steps back and I think what that did was it kind of stole some of our confidence."

Patterson said during the bye week that he felt like his defense took those two steps back in Waco. It didn't take another loss for him to determine that. Earlier in the season, even in the first two losses, Patterson believed his side of the ball had performed adequately. What transpired in the past two games changed his opinion.

With an 11-point lead in the second half, WVU gave up conversion after conversion on third down. For the game, they allowed Tech to convert on 9-of-15 attempts and after building that double-digit lead, the Mountaineers gave up 21-straight points.

"You've got somebody down, you got to be like sharks in the tank. You have to smell it. You have to just go out and take it," said Patterson.

But apparently the sideline had lost something. The players on the field had, as well. In the past, Patterson said, WVU's defense played knowing it would get a stop. In the two most recent losses, it played hoping for a stop. Something was lost. That "swagger," perhaps.

"Coming off that Baylor game, it was a tough loss," said linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. "It definitely hurt us, but we've got to move on. But then again, coming into this game, when bad things [happen], you've just got to play the next play and it's hard to tell without watching the tape what we did, but we might have our low point get to us."

It would seem that the best way to regain the swagger would be to win, but short of that, taking a lead over a top 20 team would go a long way. Instead of regaining confidence and using the momentum that filled Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday, WVU players believe they got over-confident and some even used the word complacent.

"I think we should have won that game, hands down. We had it in the bag. I'm not sure if we got too comfortable," said receiver Kevin White. "We were up by a little bit, we took the game over, thought we had it in the bag. All we had to do was finish it."

There is no special formula for getting to the point where the Mountaineers can finish these games and use momentum rather than get comfortable. It isn't something WVU will find on film and translate to the field. Rather, according to offensive lineman Pat Eger, they will find it within themselves.

"You've got to want to do it," said Eger. "There's not one coach or one teammate that can rah rah and get you going. You've got to reach down deep inside and you've got to want to do it. If you don't want to do it, then you're not going to be successful."

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