In West Virginia's five victories the Mountaineers' No. 1 weakness failed to be identified because of two primary reasons either the opponent was too weak to do anything about it or the coaching staff was able to scheme around it.
However, in its two losses to LSU and Syracuse, that weakness was exposed and if WVU's final five opponents learn anything from watching game film on the old gold and blue, it will be how to attack that weakness and give their team the best chance for victory.
What is that weakness? An offensive front which is attempting to compete on the D-I level without the availability of any true tackles.
Head coach Bill Stewart and offensive line coach Dave Johnson have done a masterful job of disguising the offense's woes. Look at the Mountaineers' roster and you will see 14 players listed as offensive linemen.
The depth chart shows junior Don Barclay and sophomore Jeff Braun as the starters at the two tackle positions with senior Matt Timmerman and freshman Pat Edgar as their immediate replacements.
But, just how many of those are "true" tackles?
In Johnson's rotation scheme every lineman has to be prepared to play every position. That's not a bad decision when you have players capable of moving from the guard slots outside to the tackle position. But, that doesn't appear to be the case this fall.
Time and time again on Saturday the Orange defense knocked WVU's tackles back into the backfield and made life miserable for sophomore quarterback Geno Smith and senior running back Noel Devine.
When you have a running game designed to attack the edges with the speed of a Devine and a passing game revolving around a true drop-back passer, then you have to have tackles who can open lanes that will allow Devine an opportunity to utilize his moves and speed to get to the corners and can maintain their blocks on hard charging ends so that Smith can have the time necessary to find his receivers in WVU's three-tier passing attack.
Neither of those necessities occurred consistently enough on Saturday which is why the Mountaineers' offense looked like world beaters on two of its first three possessions and like cellar-dwellers the final three quarters of action.
Harsh words? Yes.
But with all of the preseason talk about unbeaten seasons and Big East titles, Stewart and his staff need to own up to their end of the bargain.
Playing, what in essence is five guards, on the offensive line and expecting Mountaineer fans to believe that this is the best they can put out there is a little too much.
Especially when so much hype was placed on the recruitment of high school All-American Quinton Spain, who has yet to play a down after coming in as one of the most herald recruits since Parkersburg's Josh Jenkins elected to send his services to Morgantown.
This is not to say that Braun and Barclay aren't trying their best. But, if this is the best WVU has to offer, then it could very well be a long last five games.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org