And though special-teams woes were probably the chief cause of last week's loss at Oklahoma State, there were even bright spots there. A week before, the snapping and kicking parts of the game were horrendous and that was corrected. As for the botched handling of punts and kickoffs, mere bad bounces actually played a significant role there.
That's no excuse because part of the game is learning to deal with bad bounces, but it's at least an extenuating circumstance. Part of winning close games is getting some breaks and West Virginia got none of them in special teams.
But as much progress as this team has made over the past couple of weeks, it's still not been enough. The defense still has its awful, inexplicable lapses in pass coverage when it matters most, the offense isn't nearly as crisp as it once was and the special teams seem to find a new way to look bad every week.
Much of that you have to pin on coaching. There's no other way around it. If the defense can't execute the schemes the coaches have devised to stop the pass, well, someone had better devise a new scheme, one that at least mitigates the damage. If opposing defenses have figured out how to stop big plays then the offensive coaches have to counter with something else. And attention to detail has to be a priority with special teams.
Perhaps significant progress has been made in those areas, and perhaps the only missing ingredient now is inspiration or motivation. Maybe guys like White and Irvin and Julian Miller can provide some of that.
It certainly can't hurt.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.