Huggins Doesn’t Name Names, But Calls Out Some For Lack of Coachability
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins highlighted the familiar problems of bad passing and lack of preparation as factors in his team’s hideous 66-56 loss to Florida on Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic, but he also made as direct a statement as he ever has in singling out a player. He didn’t say the name, but the message was clear.
“I’ve never had a guy turn a 180 as much as he has turned,” he said of the unidentified player. “He was as coachable as could be and now he’s not. I’ve told them in the locker room that it has to stop They have to cut it out. You can’t put yourself before the team. I don’t put myself before the team.”
Whether or not that will be sufficient to get the message across is unknown, but the Hall of Fame in-waiting coach didn’t sound overly optimistic.
“How many times is it going to happen?” he asked rhetorically. “It should have [sunk in] when we lost to Buffalo. Normally, we go in and we grind, and we have so many young guys, and we didn’t have Sags or Beetle at the end. But we still lost. They don’t put asterisks on there. We have to get it turned, and the only thing that will get it turned is hard work.”
One of the first items on that list will be more sessions on passing. WVU committed 21 turnovers, with many of those coming on easy giveaways to the Gators. Terrible attempts to players that were not open comprised another segment.
“They throw up a 1-3-1 (in the second half) which we practice against every day, but we don’t pass the ball. We absolutely refuse to pass the ball,” Huggins reiterated. “Our biggest problem is, one, we don’t pass it well and, two, we don’t have any idea where it’s supposed to go. It blows my mind that we have a guy wide open and you can’t see him. We had guys open. We didn’t pass the ball.”
That led to another familiar refrain.
“I have a hard time understanding what’s wrong with doing what you are really good at,” he said. “These guys think they can do all these things they can’t do and they look like fools. Our problem isn’t physical, it’s between our ears. How many balls do we run down from behind? We just can’t get that kind of effort.”
If fixes do come, they may come courtesy of fewer players. Huggins mentioned “addition by subtraction” which would seem to point toward cutting the rotation down, but further comments seemed to indicate more team-wide issues.
“We don’t take things serious enough,” Huggins hearkened back to previous squads. “They watched film, they listened, then they went out and practiced it. These guys sit there, but they can’t be watching. They can’t be. We have to get some guys that have our back, that have the coaching staff’s back. That has the University’s back, the state’s back.”