Well, it’s official: HCBS has taken his first big-boy steps at West Virginia. And what steps they were.
Scoring Doc Holliday, Steve Dunlap, and David Lockwood — anything but Nehlen retreads — was a major coup for this fledgling coach. They add instant credibility both in recruiting and scheming. As we all know, Holliday is the jewel of this class and gives WVU arguably the best recruiter of Florida. Stewart’s 2009 class, simply because of Holliday’s presence, should be much improved. Hell, we might see a resurgence this year.
But the real question mark, at least in the eyes of the fans, is Charlie Taaffe, the new offensive coordinator. He immediately assumes the title of “Most Misspelled Name” at WVU, a title formerly held by John Beilein and Owen Schmitt.
Automatically, anyone with CFL experience is looked at as a leper (see: Stewart, Bill). But Taaffe is much more than that.
If you might remember, WVU got it’s head stomped four consecutive times by a very good Maryland squad. One might be quick to point out Scott McBrien’s presence, but he was still Scott McBrien, an average quarterback. Taaffe was the man that transformed that offense. Of course, when Maryland couldn’t recruit a QB to save their life, the team went downhill, but not before producing Vernon Davis. Let us also not forget 1987-1995, when Taaffe was head coach of The Citadel, eventually becoming the winningest coach in school history.
Of course, many will want to forget his two DUI arrests, the second of which led to his dismissal at The Citadel. Then again, he was found not guilty of both of those charges and won $186,000 from the school for breach of contract. And if you still want to bring it up, I give you two words: Bob Huggins.
People can learn from their mistakes, if they were mistakes at all — he was found not guilty, remember. And that was over 10 years ago, so apparently, he already has. So, in my mind, when it comes to Charlie Taaffe, the good far outweighs the bad.
In closing, there are two teams in my recent memory that were basically unstoppable. When they lined up, you just had absolutely no idea what was coming next on offense. Those were Maryland under Taaffe and Louisville under Petrino. That’s heady company.
My feeling is that Taaffe brings that same “holy shit, we’re good” offense to WVU.