Jenn Menendez: Hi there, let's get started.
WVfan: This team seems suddenly demoralized. Any insight into how this happened?
Jenn Menendez: Well, jeez I think giving up 100+ points in two games will do that. How that actually happened .... far more complicated. Lots of problems I've written about, but sounds like it is a good time for an off week.
WVU Still Better ThanPitt: Jenn, we need some good news...tell me that the WVU Defensive secondary will remember why the school offered them scholarships to come here for the game remaining? The do remember that they are talented...right? They look like they've lost ALL confidence in the past two weeks.
Jenn Menendez: Wish I could tell you they are undergoing confidence repair sessions this week, but unfortunately it's a matter of simplifying things and getting players in the right position to play.
Jenn Menendez: this defense has come across a bit sheephish all season and now are struggling with reality.
MarkWVU: Theyr're not demoralized...they have no defense
MarkWVU: Unless you can figure out a way to score 60+ points every game you have to play defense
Jenn Menendez: Well, that was sort of the plan. No? Was working well for five weeks but that is an awful lot of pressure to put on any offense. I don't care who's out there.
Pitsnoggled: Could DeForest and/or Keith Patterson lose their job after this season if the defense continues to be a laughing stock?
Jenn Menendez: Of course they could. Coaches get fired all the time for bad results. Do I have any insight if that will happen or not? No idea. I think, believe it or not, it's far too early to predict that kind of stuff.
BigE: So we know have received 2 standing 8 counts and are 1 knock out punch from being KO'd. Can we go to our corner, shake off this cob webs, and return to play the kind of football we are used to seeing WVU playing? Or are we too dazed and confused?
Jenn Menendez: That's the million dollar question. I think for the first time in two years this off week could not come at a better time. This team needs some confidence back and very clearly needs some time to shake off those two losses.
danks: Is Geno essentially just pressing now? And when did the WR's forget how to catch a ball?
Jenn Menendez: I think the pressure to score and be successful every drive was really evident last week. They acted patient as an offense by punting and not trying to force it on fourth down situations early with bad field position - but I'm not sure the players have shaken that feeling yet. Just a hunch.
Jenn Menendez: And that includes Geno. He stands up behind the podium and takes the blame for the teams problems but it certainly looked like he was pressing out there. And same with the WR's...
AtLeastWeDontHaveSunseri: Jenn, how much time do you actually spend around the team? Does the defense look hilariously bad in practices too? Are there any "Team Leaders" on the defensive side of the ball that actually speak up?
Jenn Menendez: Not much unfortunately. We are allowed 30 minutes at the start of practice about four or five times during August camp and then we never see them again. We see the players for group interviews once a week on Tuesday night's and then again after the game's. So I can't answer how they look in practice for you. Unfortunately having such little access doesn't allow me to get a real sense of who takes charge when the chips are down either...
WVU Still Better ThanPitt: It seems to me that the defensive problem starts with the secondary. When I watch the opponents take each snap, the cornerbacks aren't even in the tv picture! The line and linebackers can't get to the quarterback. Texas Tech and KState receivers were having a ballroom dance in the WVU secondary because the corners are playing prevent every play! Any comment Jenn?
Jenn Menendez: You are correct, to a point. I think the problems start with the lack of pressure on the opposing QB and then the problems in the secondary are the most obvious to the naked eye (without reviewing film.)
Chris: Could this team potentially lose out until Kansas?
Jenn Menendez: Thought about that a lot this week and spoke to a few people about how the rest of this season will go down. I think this thing could go either way still. I think they could calm down and get it together to make the rest of the season competitive or things could continue to snowball...and in that case the ugly reality is yes it's certainly possible they could lose four more.
Danas Redbull: What's the word on Shawne Alston? The offense isn't the same without him. I know Buie had a good game against UT, but the line opened up monster holes in that one. Buie seems to get 3 yards on plays where Alston got 8.
Jenn Menendez: Alston tweeted on Monday that he will be back for the TCU game on Nov. 3 and Holgorsen said he needs to practice well before he plays. My guess is he plays. And believe it or not, though he is just one guy, I think he matters a lot to how this offense functions. When they can run the ball it takes the pressure off of Geno - literally and figuratively. I think Alston is by far the best running back on the team and if he is anywhere near healthy he could open things up.
WVfan: Is Shawne Alston playing in two weeks? Can he really help that much?
Jenn Menendez: Like I said, my guess is yes. And yes. I actually think he can help "that much."
Jenn Menendez: One thing to add, players and Holgorsen talk a lot about what a leader Alston is. He's the guy who speaks up in the locker room from what I understand. May seem like a small team, but in my experience those kind of guys help more than it might seem.
Jenn Menendez: a small "thing"
WVU Still Better ThanPitt: With all of the hoopla that has taken place in the past two weeks, we only have 2 losses, and if we can figure this out we can still turn a pretty successful Big 12 season. Do you get the sense that the team feels the same way?
Jenn Menendez: Unfortunately last time I saw the team was on the field Saturday night. Geno Smith and Tavon Austin were the only two players made available to the media after the game, then nobody was made available on Tuesday. On paper the season can be salvaged, and yes in real time it can too. Again, that's the million dollar question.
Danas Redbull: Can we bring Jeff Casteel back? The 3-3-5 defense can't be any worse than the alleged "Defense" we've had to watch this season so far...
Jenn Menendez: That ship has sailed west. Recall he and his 3-3-5 were criticized a fair amount last year too by the fan base.
WVU Still Better ThanPitt: I've been on the PSU and Pitt chats earlier today, and the WVU chat is by far the most interactive. Still proud that we have fans that care about our program, and definitely proud to be a Mountaineer! Thanks for the insight Jenn and keep up the great work. Let's Go Mountaineers!
Jenn Menendez: Well thanks. You guys make it worthwhile for sure. I know everyone is really, really frustrated right now so figured this was an outlet of some sort at least.
Danas Redbull: On a more serious note, I live here in Pittsburgh and I hear Tom Bradley on the radio all the time. WVU should be calling his phone every day to get him to come to Morgantown and fix the defense. Thoughts?
Jenn Menendez: You know I follow our coverage in the PG, but have not heard him speak that often. I'll take your word that he's pretty good. I'd be speculating like crazy right now to say that's a possibility though....sorry.
Jenn Menendez: Well it's 2:30 and that wraps up our chat for the week. May you all breathe deep this weekend and enjoy your Saturday "off week." Thanks again. As always find me on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @JennMenendez