Stephen J. Nesbitt: Welcome back for our second West Virginia live chat of the season. WVU is coming off a 24-17 come-from-behind victory over William & Mary on Saturday. Plenty of questions left with this team.
Scott: What's Kevin White's Week 2 status?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Scott -- WR Kevin White, a JUCO transfer, is still listed as day-to-day with a foot injury. Holgorsen said yesterday that White was day-to-day last week before being ruled out late in the week. White also had a shoulder injury during camp.
BB: Any chance Dana H, was holding back some vs. W&M? Not wanting to show all his cards...I certainly hope so.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: You certainly hope he was. Now, Holgorsen said last week that he didn't plan to hold anything back, but I think there's a bit more of the playbook you'll see this week.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Oklahoma and West Virginia combined for 99 points and 1,400 yards in last year's game. That's not going to happen again, considering both teams are breaking in new QBs. Still, WVU's offense should be ticking a bit better this week than last.
Scott: Why is a BlackBerry-friendly chat page offered and does anyone still have a BlackBerry?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Valid question. I'm Team iPhone, though.
Guest: Any update on Buie?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: No update. WVU didn't exactly miss him on Saturday, though, as Smallwood, Smith and Sims seem to have things under control. The current answer is he is not enrolled at WVU but is supposed to return in January.
Spencer A.: So is Millard for sure the guy going forward? I swear they brought Trickett in to start.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Well, the coaches are saying that Millard is the guy but that Trickett will still be getting first-team practice reps. Does that mean it's 50/50? Not at all. Does it mean it's case closed? Not that either. It's my gut that they brought Trickett in expecting that he'd be the starter. Either he didn't step up quickly enough and get a handle of the playbook or Millard just stepped his game up to another level to stay even or even pull ahead. I don't think we've seen the last of Trickett; I think the battle is still closer than people expect.
Guest: Will this really be a rush-heavy team the rest of the way?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: That's hard to read. As it stands today, the rushing game is WVU's greatest strength. Even with Buie gone, they're four backs deep. The ratio of 44 rushes to 27 passes vs. William & Mary was the second-largest in Holgorsen's tenure at WVU. (They ran 46 times to 27 passes vs. Kansas last November.) Holgorsen said yesterday, though, that the offense needs to be much more balanced -- do they have the firepower to be more balanced? Not sure.
GOWVU: any update on dozie?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: LB Dozie Ezemma is out for the year (and the remainder of his career, as he is a redshirt senior) with a broken leg and foot. He might need surgery, Holgorsen said. Regardless, he's out.
eers05: how much worse is the oklahoma offense this year? because if they're anywhere as good as they were last year we're toast.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Hah! That's certainly one way to look at it. The teams combined for 800 passing yards last year, and Landry had six passing TDs. Ouch. Oof. That's not ideal defense. OU is breaking in redshirt freshman Trevor Knight who really struggled passing last weekend in a 34-0 shutout of ULM. That's the good news. But he's dangerous on his feet. All in all, that's a better trade for the WVU secondary, but don't overlook Knight. It's still a very good offense.
Spencer A.: After all the hype about the WRs, what happened?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: No WR really stood out on Saturday, save redshirt sophomore Ronald Carswell, who caught a 69-yard bomb to tie things up in the third quarter. Most of that blame goes to the quarterbacks, who struggled to get the offense moving. But Holgorsen also said yesterday that the receivers didn't help anyone out. They caught the ball and hit the dirt. He said they need to make a play, make somebody miss. You know, all the things you never had to tell Tavon and Stedman and J.D. to do.
Guest: Is having OU in week 2 a good or bad thing?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: It's a little bit of both. It's good because it'll be an early barometer -- we'll see pretty darn early just exactly what kind of WVU team we're dealing with. It could be a great outlook or it could signal a very, very long Big 12 season ahead. Holgorsen maintains that it doesn't matter when you face OU, but for my money, considering the questions dotting the depth chart for WVU, it'd certainly be better to face a powerhouse like OU once you've worked out some of those kinks.
sl8er: how many carries should sims be getting?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Good question, and a tough one. Sims had 120 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries Saturday. Divide 23 by 44 and you'll find that Sims got 52.3% of the touches in the running game. Is that enough? Yes and no. I think Sims needs 20+ carries per game. If he's getting 20 carries and Smith and Smallwood are sprinkling in their contributions, it's a heck of a rushing attack. But if that percentage stays yet WVU starts to look more toward passing, that's trouble.
Guest: I think 25 is better
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Fair point. I think Charles would be very happy to hear you say that.
Ben in OK: WVU guy stuck in OU country here. Having been to a game in Norman it's a tough tough place to play.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Noted. Holgorsen talked yesterday about how there's so little room on the sideline in Norman. The fans are breathing down your neck from the opening whistle to the last second. It's an uncomfortable place to play for visitors, and that's part of the reason only five road teams have won in Norman during Bob Stoops' tenure.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Going to be a bit of a shorter chat today, but keep submitting your questions and I'll keep plugging away.
Guest: Will Smallwood be the #1 back next year?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Looking ahead, are we? Looking solely at the depth chart, sure, Smallwood could be. But you've got to remember that Rushel Shell and Andrew Buie (supposedly) will be returning in the spring, and Dreamius Smith already got more touches than Smallwood. Is he a good talent? He's a great talent, and he'll be a stud for the next four years, but I'd hesitate a little handing him the reins already for next year just one game into his career.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: One game and four carries, at that ...
Guest2: what'd you think of the defense vs bill and mary?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Some good, some bad, I suppose. What was truly impressive, though, was that the defense was able to finally lock down and pitch a second-half shutout. Yes, it was against a weak FCS opponent. But that was a moment where the stumblin', bumblin' offense needed some serious help, and the defense did it's job to perfection in the second half. We'll see if the pass rush and secondary can be up to the task against Oklahoma. That's a whole different ballgame.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Seven more minutes -- any final, rapid-fire questions out there?
Guest: Will the Bucs win 82 tonight?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: I think the better question is whether the Tigers will win 82 tonight.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Sorry, that's the Detroit in me. Yes, I think to Bucs will do it tonight. And it's a great story. Pretty monumental time to be a Pirates fan around here. Glad to be here.
Spencer A.: Here my last one...if the game isn't close will we see Trickett?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: My vote is yes. If he's truly getting some first-team reps this week, the coaches think he's ready to play. Millard looks like a good system player, but Trickett may have more upside. Millard is the man for now, but I don't think Trickett's so far behind that they're done trying to use him. If it's mop-up duty, why not give Trickett a few drives?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: With that being said, I think this game will be far closer than mop-up duty.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Both offenses are trying to get their feet under them, so I don't think either side is ready to put up more than a couple dozen. Certainly not 99 combined points like last year.
Guest: Thanks for the chat. Now I'll try to forget Oklahoma and get back to work.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: With that, I'm out. Thanks for tuning in. We'll be back here next Wednesday, same time, same place.