MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– For much of the season, West Virginia’s wide receivers have dropped passes, a problem that plagued the team last season too. It has been an area of emphasis all season in an attempt to improve the problem.
After the Mountaineers’ loss to Texas Tech, some WVU fans took to social media to chastise the student-athletes for their performance, mainly dropped passes.
The critics got under the skin of the wide outs who went out against Kansas State on Saturday and made big plays.
“I was very open about it in our room,” offensive coordinator Gerad Parker said. “Some of that stuff is part of the job. What I want to do is deflect most of it. It is all my responsibility first. Those guys took it personal and they should. The mere fact is if we would have played at a high level, they wouldn’t have had to take that on and they know it. They took it personal and they should take it personal and we also know it’s very fleeting profession and activity that we are in. So, if we play well one week but don’t the next, nobody remembers that. We have a passionate fanbase. We got a fair fanbase that expects us to play at a high level and they want us to play well.
“They know that. I know that. But certainly, is there a good use for us to rally around each other and make it about each other instead of an individual thing or start to get away from the fray and avoid each other? That could be the worst thing to happen. So to answer your question and to tell you that we absolutely did use it that way to rally around each other and to make sure that we play for each other to respond the right way and if we got motivated by some of those things two weeks ago that allowed that to happen, then it was well worth it.”
During Saturday’s win, the Mountaineers had eight different receivers make catches, totaling 301 yards and two touchdowns.
Sophomore Bryce Ford-Wheaton led the receiving corps with 104 yards. T.J. Simmons had 53.
While WVU was happy with its performance, they won’t forget the negativity.
“It’s really nice honestly but we still remember all of it,” Ford-Wheaton said after Saturday’s win. “We’re going to play with a chip on our shoulder for the rest of the year and remember what people were saying about us and really step up to the plate.”
All season, the Mountaineers have devoted more time than anything to catching balls but the team turned it up last week.
“We caught more balls this week than any other week,” Ford-Wheaton said. “We was really doing a lot of the same stuff. A lot of the drops have to do with focus and we was really just focused on the ball when we’re catching it and secure it all the way to the tuck.”
If the Mountaineers want to finish the season with more W’s in the win column, the wide receivers will have to continue executing. Don’t look for them to disappoint.
Cover Photo Credit: Ben Queen- USA TODAY SPORTS