West Virginia’s offense put up over 400 yards on Saturday, but inopportune penalties, a costly turnover and a lack of third down conversions (2-of-10) meant the Mountaineers could only muster 24 points. According to offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, the early success may have caused more harm than good.
Dawson says early success may have made the new guys over confident.
“I think with inexperienced guys there are really two things that slow an offense down – success and failure,” he said. “I don’t know if that makes 100% sense, but when you have success like that and you’re inexperienced, you start thinking it’s easy. I think we had some of that. We went out there and had great tempo, a great drive the first (time). The next two weren’t terrible, but I could sense a little lull in our mentality, in our tempo and everything. I think it had a lot to do with inexperience.”
Although William & Mary plays at a lower level, Dawson also was not afraid to give some credit to The Tribe.
“I think it had a lot to do with who we were playing,” he said. “Give those guys a lot of credit. Schematically they came out with things they haven’t shown before and they gave us some problems.”
The biggest question mark for the Mountaineers heading into the game was quarterback, but Dawson says he liked what he saw from junior Paul Millard.
“Especially going out there in the first drive, he was pretty impressive,” said Dawson. “He’s a kid, that’s his first start and he took the ball down. I thought for the majority of the game – now I haven’t sat down and analyzed the film – he managed the game well, and that’s all we asked him to do.”
He did make note of the costly fumble late in the first half, which he called “obviously unacceptable.” Still, he did not lay all of the blame at the feet of No. 14. “It was a really bad call on our part, too,” said Dawson, who did not go into further details as to why it was a bad call.
Even though the offense has some kinks to work out, Dawson says he’s pleased with the end result – and wanted to thank someone who bailed out his offense on more than one occasion.
“There are no ugly wins. It’s 1-0 and we’ll take it,” he said. “Thank God for Nick O’Toole.”
EerSports' Alissa Hudak contributed to this article.