MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Confidence is fleeting.
You can do the same thing in the same way nine times in a row and get it right every time, but if the 10th time turns into a disaster, poof, it can be gone.
Well, West Virginia's football team probably hasn't done anything right nine times in a row this season. Maybe not even four or five very often.
The Mountaineers have, however, had just enough success at times doing a variety of things that it might seem logical to assume that confidence was building. In just the past two weeks, the offense - and this is rare - has put together back-to-back scoring drives. Against Texas Tech, it did so a stunning (at least for this group) five straight possessions.
The defense, too, has had success at various times throughout the season. But as long as we're concentrating on the most recent, how about holding Kansas State without a score on seven of the game's first eight possessions last weekend?
Yet every time, a team that seems to know how to do things and proves it in spurts manages to be brought back to earth with a thud.
The defense that made Kansas State look like, well, Kansas State for more than a half promptly made the Wildcats look like Baylor, scoring touchdowns on four straight possessions.
The offense that has struggled to find a rhythm all season long has ended the last two games by failing to score a point on its final five and then four possessions, respectively, both times when doing so even once or twice would have made all the difference in the world.
Confidence? It's hard to build that when something always
"No, we didn't think, 'Oh, here it goes again,' ' quarterback Clint Trickett said of the meltdown that resulted in West Virginia's latest loss, a 35-12 drubbing at Kansas State. "It wasn't anything like that, a déjà vu type thing. It was just a simple lack of execution and [Kansas State] played great.''
Or was it?
"Is it confidence? That probably has something to do with it,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said. "I don't know. Maybe we're just not coaching it very well.''
Truth be told, eight games into what increasingly appears to be a lost season for a program that isn't used to lost seasons, it is probably a bit of both.