WVU’s Campbell: ‘It’s Easy To Get Down, But You Can’t Get Down’
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia’s football season, as receiver George Campbell readily admits, hasn’t gone the way he or his teammates had hoped. An encouraging 3-1 start has evaporated in a five game losing streak, leaving players and coaches frustrated and disappointed as chances for a bowl game and a strong finish have all but faded away. Compounding that has been the arc of the season — anticipation for improvement as the season progressed have likewise gone south in a welter of injuries and play ranging from inconsistent to just plain bad.
Campbell, a veteran of setbacks on a personal level–- his career at Florida State was sidetracked repeatedly due to injuries – knows how to handle such disappointments. When a game gets away from the team, as Saturday’s 38-17 loss to Texas Tech did, it would be easy to throw in the towel, but such a reaction isn’t part of his makeup. Faced with a 28-3 deficit, his thoughts were simple.
“You always have to keep playing. If you cant score or something happens, that’s part of the game,” the Clearwater, Florida, native explained. “There is going to be adversity. That’s part of playing ball.”
While the Red Raiders deserve credit for their play, especially in the first half when they rolled out to a big lead, there’s no doubt that self-inflicted wounds were just as important in creating the deficit. Several entries on that list were out-and-out drops by the receiving corps – an issue which has plagued it throughout the season.
Campbell, again, has been there.
“Every receiver goes through a period where they have drops,” he said. “You just have to work through it. You keep catching balls in practice, and work on your focus.”
Correcting West Virginia’s red zone issues are another matter. WVU moved the ball well for the most part, but came up short in the red zone, scoring only ten points on five trips inside the 20-yard line. A pair of mis-run routes, the inability to run block and a poor QB decision all contributed.
“We didn’t execute like we should. We had a lot of mistakes, even though we had big plays,” Campbell explained. “We have to work on fixing mistakes; that was pretty much our red zone problem.”
Again with a veteran’s viewpoint, Campbell knows there are no shortcuts, no magic beans that will fix West Virginia’s issues. He does know, though, that failing to stay together and on the effort path, is the surest way to a bigger meltdown. On a personal level, he has aced that test, fighting back from his injury-riddled time at Florida State to become an important part of this year’s West Virginia team, from offense to special teams. That should make him a voice that’s listened to, and after falling into that deficit against Texas Tech, he noted that the team stuck to that path.
“It was just keeping everybody up, staying united, and standing together as one,” he said of the conversations on the sideline during the game. “In situations like this, it’s easy to get down, but you can’t get down. If we had, it probably would have been worse than what it was. You have to keep fighting. I definitely feel like everybody has been fighting. The season hasn’t been what we wanted it to be, but at the same time every guy on this team has given it their all, and they still are.”