Dana Holgorsen Needs Jeff Casteel's D to Step It Up

Daniel KablackCorrespondent IIISeptember 28, 2011

Geno Smith is well on his way to throwing for over 4,000 yards
Geno Smith is well on his way to throwing for over 4,000 yardsRob Carr/Getty Images

West Virginia Mountaineers fans still have a lot to look forward to this year.

As the season rolls on and we put a loss against one of the best teams in the country behind us, it is already clear that this year's team will be something special.

Yes, perhaps an undefeated season is out of the question, but is there something we've forgotten?

This season has already been historic.

Just last week, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith passed for 463 yards in a single game, eclipsing former WVU quarterback Marc Bulger's previous record. His 38 completions and 65 passing attempts were also new West Virginia University records.

At this point, he is well on his way to setting a new high-water mark for passing yards in a single season. That record stands at 3,607 set by Bulger in 1998. Smith is currently on track to throw for nearly 4,500 yards.

A balanced mix of run and pass is what West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is looking for.

His theory is: If I can throw some runs into the game plan, I can keep the defense honest and open up the field to complete more passes.

That theory has worked, at times.

In the game vs. LSU, the Mountaineers out gained the Tigers by over 150 yards, yet threw two interceptions and allowed a big special teams play.

Though Holgorsen has already launched West Virginia into a new era of football—a passing attack that we have never seen before in Morgantown—the Mountaineers are still having issues starting off on the right foot.

That was evident in the Saturday night game, where the Mountaineers were down 27-7 at halftime.

As they have in nearly every match up this year, the WVU players came out of the locker room with a new sense of urgency.

They drove down the field and scored two touchdowns coming out of halftime to cut the lead to just six points late in the third quarter, but special teams play ultimately let the fans down.

To the dismay of onlookers, West Virginia allowed Morris Claiborne to return a kickoff for a 99-yard touchdown, which ultimately set up LSU for the win.

As disheartening as the loss at home was, fans still have high expectations for the remainder of the season.

The rest of the Mountaineer's schedule doesn't see defensive talent like we saw against Louisiana State, which could mean many more points...and wins for the guys from Morgantown.

I would fully expect their defense to tighten up for the remainder of the year and start reverting to its old habits that ranked it third last season in points scored against.

One thing we must remember, Holgorsen is running this team without the people he planned on hiring. He started an entire year early after the resignation of former coach Bill Stewart, and is working with many of the coaches who were on Stewart's staff.

Defense is an aspect of the game that Holgorsen doesn't really want anything to do with, and he has said time and time again that he is leaving that up to defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, who has had the WVU defense looking like one of the best in the country at times.

They need that kind of defensive production now.

If they don't see it the rest of this season, expect Dana Holgorsen to turn this coaching staff upside down and start fresh with his own hand-selected talent next season.