Overcoming Disappointment Of An Opening Loss Can Be Difficult

West Virginia receiver Winston Wright reacts after missing connections on a pass

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Other than the anticipation for a big game with a lot at stake -–say, a conference championship tilt or a contest against a traditional rival – there’s probably not much more excitement built for a game than for a season opener. The ills of last season are gone, coaches tend to lean toward positive reports, hype videos and posts from the ever-growing staff responsible for such flood out of digital editing systems and keyboards. There’s more than normal tie allotted for the build-up. Optimism abounds.

Some of that is human nature, of course. Before there’s much actual data to look at and evaluate, the tendency is to fall back on feelings and emotions – the bedrock that fans have in the connections to their teams. Things have to be better this year, right? All those inexperienced freshmen and sophomores are going to be salty juniors with lots of swag. The ball, which bounced negatively last year, is going to be in the good guys’ favor this season. Mistakes of commission and omission aren’t going to occur. Then, unfortunately, for half of the teams involved, those things don’t coalesce.

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As covered extensively over the past couple of days, West Virginia’s self-inflicted mistakes were the biggest reason for its disheartening 30-24 loss to Maryland. Pick just a couple to eliminate, and the Mountaineers would have come home with a win instead of an 0-1 record. That probably, in some ways, makes the loss even worse  knowing that enough positives for a team were in place to produce a winning effort, but that they weren’t utilized effectively enough.

Put all of that together, and the disappointment and frustration for fans whose teams didn’t get that win in week one is perhaps among the worst of the season. It’s like being towed up that first big hill of the roller coaster, only to find that the anticipated thrill at the top has been replaced by a flat, straight stretch of track.

Of course, fans have the option of getting away from everything to deal with the disappointment. The teams do not. The way in which they respond to it could set a tone for the remainder of the year.

“Obviously this loss will bring the team together. You have to battle adversity, come back to work next week and handle business on Saturday,” said receiver Winston Wright, Jr.,  who set a WVU single-game record for kickoff return yardage but also had a fumble of a punt in the game.

WVU head coach Neal Brown also understands the situation.

“I know our fanbase is going to be disappointed, and I get that, that’s fair,” he said immediately following the game, his demeanor echoing that of many in gold and blue. “It’s fair for them to be upset, it’s fair for the criticism, but as a football team, we’ve got to continue to get better. We don’t have a choice. We’ve got to respond. We’ve got an 11 game season left. We’ve got to bounce back. We’ve still got a lot to play for.”

West Virginia receiver Winston Wright sets sail on his 98-yard kickoff return

WVU will be aided in that effort by the presence of an opponent, Long Island, which should offer little in terms of a threat to win the game, and in some ways that might be good. There’s no question, that after putting a good bit of emotion into breaking its losing road streak, which has now stretched to five games, that the Mountaineers are down. A bit of success is always a good tonic. But deep down, they’ll know that a win in the next game is something of a foregone conclusion and that the real test in recovery will come in the following game against Virginia Tech. And even then, will that have enough of a punch to recover from the one WVU received in College Park?

“It is hard,” Wright said of bouncing back from the huge letdown that losing an opener brings. “But it will bring the leaders together and get the whole team back together, so I feel like it can be a positive thing.”

As one of those leaders, he’ll be responsible for helping find a way to do just that, and he’s quite correct in his approach. He’s just as right with his assessment that it will be difficult.

Home Page forums Overcoming Disappointment Of An Opening Loss Can Be Difficult

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    COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Other than the anticipation for a big game with a lot at stake -–say, a conference championship tilt or a contest against a tradit
    [See the full post at: Overcoming Disappointment Of An Opening Loss Can Be Difficult]


    Not easy but they have no choice but to push on.   4 turnovers  will result in a lot of losses.  The turnovers either stopped a WVU score and/or put the defense right back on the field, which wore them down by the 4th quarter.



    If you’re a Mountaineer fan; you’re used to disappointment.  We’re like Cub fans (ie., “next year” mentality).

    The silver linings:
    98-yard kickoff return by Winston Wright.
    3 touchdowns by Leddie Brown.

    Wright had 221 yards in kickoff returns on five kickoffs, an average of 43.4 yards.

    That broke Tavon Austin’s school record of 199 kickoff return yards, set in 2012 against Kansas State. The 98-yard return was the longest non-scoring kickoff return in school history.


    Sean Ryan had some good catches


    There were some good things Saturday.  Besides Wright’s returns, thought D-line played well, Jackie Matthews made some nice stops, Gmiter-Frazier-Nester blocked well inside, special teams was ok (just wish we kickoff to the end zone instead of 10 or 15 more consistently). Of course, Leddie is a beast, just need more touches.

    BTW , anyone think that his fumble was result of helmet to helmet contact?


    There were many good things in spite of the coaching.  Plan on both sides of the ball was suspect.


    IMO, a mistake prone first game of the season doesn’t define a football season. Sometimes, it appears that these type losses does more to make a team relevant, than does a win.

    I don’t have a clue whether the first team QB will remain so or not. But, I do believe the Mountaineers have a good coaching staff, and will use this loss as a learning tool. And, I won’t judge the QB on one bad game.

    Last night I watched an old movie about a horse that had a very poor race. Many thought the horse was a loser, but he later became one of the greatest race horses in history.

    What, I’m trying to say is, the QB may not be great, but don’t judge his results from one game to possible season’s results. The QB may be better than he displayed in game one, yet nearly everyone sees these results as total failure, and WVU as having a losing season if he remains at QB.

    MD has similar skill players to WVU, but they had no turnovers, no failing to catch a punt, no running back fumbles, nor any interceptions of their passes.

    IMO, those Mountaineer errors were mostly mental errors that happened the first game of the season. Will those errors continue, or will the coaching staff clean them up?


    a lot of the post on the site talk about big plays…great, nice for the high lite reel. great quick scores…but those put the defense right back on the field, need grind it out offense, to ware out their defense….


    I am beginning to believe the bad game by the QB may have been the result of pressing too much or having something to prove after being benched in the bowl game.

    In the MD game, there were enough mistakes to go around. But what I’m reading is the QB and coaching staff are not qualified to play in or coach a D-1 school.

    Reading, watching and seeing these forms of harassment against players and coaching staffs have been among the reasons coaching staffs, leave, players leave, and quality recruits go elsewhere for scholarships.

    I believe some of the posts that I have read have been over the wall in criticism of players, coaches and other. The team lost, so let them learn how they can do better in the future.

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