WVU football: Rowell speaks up, again
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Nose guard Shaq Rowell spoke to reporters Tuesday, the first time West Virginia players were available since last week's 37-0 loss to Maryland and the first time since Rowell peppered postgame comments with strong language expressing his anger about the outcome.
"I don't even know what I said," Rowell laughed.
The senior from Maple Heights, Ohio, said after that game that he was embarrassed by the defeat and mad that Maryland would get to brag about it for a year. He credited the Terrapins for kicking the Mountaineers in the backside and then promised WVU would not be shut out again while he was on the team.
Rowell said Tuesday he finally got over the loss. Coach Dana Holgorsen and the rest of his coaches and teammates weren't upset with what Rowell said after the game.
Rowell isn't backtracking, either.
"I knew I could go to a certain point and I wanted to go to that point without throwing someone under the bus," he said. "But I got my point out. The media enjoyed it. I enjoyed it.
"Everyone got a kick out of it. I said the right things, I believe. Everything I said was true. I don't take anything back."
Rowell is not new to voicing his postgame opinions. He didn't interact a lot with the media when he was at Iowa Western Community College, but he's grown to become comfortable with the process in his three seasons with the Mountaineers. He's not afraid to say something he believes needs to be said.
"Me being a leader and a senior, I have to," he said. "That's why Holgorsen sends me out to do media. He knows how I feel. I feel the same way the coaches do when we lose. I feel like I'm one of the best guys to come out and answer those questions."
Rowell said understands what reporters are looking for and he knew the things he said Saturday would be featured in stories. He wasn't trying to be sensational and instead thought he was being honest.
"There are no rules," he said. "You just have to be smart."
That was challenged after the loss to Maryland.
"That was very, very hard," he said. "I wanted to say some more stuff. You probably know that. But you've got to bite your tongue and you've got to give props to Maryland. They came out and beat us."
HOLGORSEN SAID TWO weeks ago his offensive line was satisfyingly successful against Oklahoma, but he followed that a week later by saying he shouldn't have said it, and he wondered if it played a part in a subpar showing against Georgia State.
Holgorsen said Saturday his line played "incredibly poorly" against the Terrapins and Holgorsen regretted that, too.
"We've got to put them in some better situations," Holgorsen said this week. "There's plenty of blame to go around. My initial reaction, I wish I wouldn't have said that because there was plenty of blame to go around."
As he's done for all of the offense's problems, Holgorsen blamed himself, particularly for not accommodating the offensive line better during the week and then during the game.
"Maybe we put them in a situation where we're not practicing enough or we're not calling specific plays that we need to call to attack a specific front," Holgorsen said. "Maybe we're throwing the ball when we need to run the ball. Maybe we're running the ball when we need to throw the ball.
"We're just asking those guys to get a little bit better. If they get a little bit better and the quarterback gets a little bit better and I get a lot better, we'll be OK as an offense."
WVU IS AVERAGING 174.75 yards per game and, more importantly, 5.18 yards per carry, which is tied for No. 34 nationally. Running backs Charles Sims (5.47), Dreamius Smith (6.44) and Wendell Smallwood (7.72) all average better than the team average.
"We're executing pretty well," offensive line coach Ron Crook said. "We went back this week and watched all of our run game cut-ups this season and the thing we came away with was that when you see the total body of work, we've run the ball pretty well.
"It was good for us to remind ourselves that because last week we had a rough game. But we've done some things well and we've got continue to do those things well and accentuate those things."
WVU managed 113 yards on 25 carries against Maryland, but take away long runs in the fourth quarter by Smith and Smallwood and the Mountaineers had 23 carries for 32 yards.
"It was a combination of a lot of different things, little things," Crook said. "It was a being a half-step slow to come off a double team. It was being a half-second slow on a punch in pass rush. It was things like that, correctable things that I feel like I should have done a better job getting them ready for during the week."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.