MORGANTOWN - The frustrations born of a four-game losing streak are beginning to take their toll on West Virginia's football team.
Perhaps it's not as great a toll as the on-field failures - the simple dropped passes, missed blocks or tackles, mental mistakes - but it's a toll nonetheless.
Players are frustrated and coaches seem to have few answers. At least they provided few other than repeating the mantra to go back and work harder following Saturday's 55-34 loss at Oklahoma State.
It has come to the point where the prevailing emotion is simply anger. And if it's not anger, well, perhaps something is wrong said quarterback Geno Smith.
"If they're not angry they should be,'' Smith said after Saturday's loss in Stillwater. "I've been angry every day. I'm angry in practice and I'm angry every time I think about it.''
Smith is apparently so angry that he's even lost track of how long this has been going on. Several times Saturday he mentioned how the Mountaineers' losing streak had reached a number he'd never experienced in his football life - three. But that was a week ago.
For the record, losses to Texas Tech, Kansas State, TCU and now OSU have dropped the once unbeaten and fifth-ranked team to 5-4 overall and 2-4 in the Big 12. With a Saturday night home game against Oklahoma on tap, the possibility of suffering a five-game skid for the first time since Don Nehlen's 4-7 team of 1986 lost six in a row is a distinct possibility.
After that comes a trip to Iowa State and a home game with Kansas. The Mountaineers still need to win one of those final three games just to reach bowl eligibility.
"I just want to get in a bowl game,'' said receiver Stedman Bailey, illustrating just how far this team has fallen. "With all the preseason hype I felt very good about this year. These last couple of weeks haven't been fun.''
And again, it is beginning to show in frustration. How deep that goes isn't quite clear, but in the past week the team has lost at least two receivers who either quit or were otherwise not involved on Saturday. Freshman Travares Copeland left the team citing personal issues, junior Ivan McCartney was left at home a week after starting in place of Bailey and redshirt freshman Dante Campbell didn't play after earning a prior start.