Bill Stewart and the Second Half
By Paul Myerberg // Sep 14, 2010
I made a statement about West Virginia’s second half adjustments — or lack thereof — in Sunday’s post listing teams either surpassing or coming short of their preseason expectations. Unfortunately, the Mountaineers were one team I felt was not playing up to its potential, writing:
Yet I keep coming back to the fact that Bill Stewart does not seem to get his Mountaineers ready to go come kickoff; they came out flat against Marshall. His inability to make meaningful in-game adjustments is also a concern.
In response, a reader — TG — suggested otherwise:
I would argue the exact opposite regarding the last part. If anything, he, and D coordinator Jeff Casteel, have made a living off of second half changes. Watch the games, you’ll see.
Who was right? Is there a right or wrong answer? Let’s take a look at West Virginia’s offensive growth between halves, using both the two games of this past season and each of the last two years — Stewart’s era as the head coach — as evidence.
Let’s start with 2008, Stewart’s first season as Rich Rodriguez’s replacement. His Mountaineers finished 9-4 that fall, a disappointment when considering the talent he inherited. With each season, the second half numbers include any totals accrued in overtime.
First half passing 101 of 151 for 906 yards, 12 TD, 3 INT
Second half passing 101 of 154 1,050 yards, 10 TD, 5 INT
First half rushing 226 carries for 1,340 yards, 5 TD
Second half rushing 291 for 1,389 yards, 10 TD
First half scoring 9.8 points per game
Second half scoring 14.0 points per game
Better first half passing numbers, better second half rushing numbers — a significantly improved scoring clip in the second half.
What of 2009, Stewart’s second season? The Mountaineers again finished 9-4, but this record was far more in line with expectations than the somewhat disappointing 2008 campaign.
First half passing 126 of 191 for 1,482 yards, 7 TD, 5 INT
Second half passing 94 of 156 for 1,002 yards, 5 TD, 5 INT
First half rushing 239 carries for 1,147 yards, 16 TD
Second half rushing 269 carries for 1,276 yards, 13 TD
First half scoring 15.2 points per game
Second half scoring 11.8 points per game
Clearly, in all facets, a far better first half performance. Most importantly, check out the scoring differential: 15.2 points per game in the first half, 11.8 in the second.
Here’s how the Mountaineers shake out through the first two games of 2010, though it’s far too early to make any substantial claims.
First half passing 24 of 31 for 244 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Second half passing 31 of 46 for 288 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
First half rushing 43 carries for 152 yards, 0 TD
Second half rushing 38 carries for 185 yards, 3 TD
First half scoring 6.5 points per game
Second half scoring 19.5 points per game
Again, it’s early. Still, it’s clear that the Mountaineers have been adept at identifying and exploiting opposing weaknesses, particularly on the ground.
It’s important to remember that a mere statistical discussion avoids the type of outside factors accompanying such totals: a large first half lead, for instance, typically ends with a pedestrian second half performance — West Virginia can call off the dogs. Other factors include the opposition; W.V.U. might be making hay against the weaker teams, struggling against the tougher teams.
Think of this post as a simple primer, one that touches on the subject but does go in-depth enough to truly be taken as gospel. However, even with merely a superficial look at West Virginia’s first half-second half split, it’s clear that I misspoke when bemoaning Stewart’s lack of in-game adjustments. If he’s hands-on with the offense, it’s evident that Stewart and his staff have done a nice job making changes in the locker room. I stand corrected.
Tags: Bill Stewart, West Virginia
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