Connect with us


Three Things to Know about West Virginia: Prepare for a Wild West (Virginia) Shootout



The No. 22 West Virginia Mountaineers look like a typical Dana-led team – a top-five passing offense with a slingshot arm quarterback and a defense that struggles to keep up with the offense’s output. So grab yourself a Red Bull for old times’ sake and let’s see what the Arkansas of the east coast has prepared for the visiting Cowboys.

Truth Serum

It’s time to learn what OSU has in the young corners and Mountaineer quarterback Will Grier is our guide on this quest.

The thriving defensive line play will surely factor in. How many times did you see Brailford, Trey Carter and Sugar Loaf Daniels breathing down Sam Ehlinger’s neck Saturday?

But the combination of Grier and the most productive college receiver-not-named-Washington in David Sills V provoked Gundy to point out this is the best quarterback OSU has faced thus far.

Sills joined James Washington on a mid-season All-American team, rampant productivity was cited for the great, trophy-less honor.

The converted quarterback has blossomed into one of college football’s top receiving threats and an absolute terror near the goal line, with eight of his FBS-leading 12 touchdown grabs coming in the red zone. [USA Today]

With Sills’ 15 touchdowns and Gary Jennings averaging 100+ per game, the Cowboy corners will either have stopped the Big 12’s second-best pass defense numbers or been exposed by a top-tier quarterback in a high-octane offense. Bucket-gettin’ time, as they say.

Here’s your eye candy for the day: who will have better numbers: Grier-to-Sills or Rudolph-to-Washington? The pair of ultra-productive tandems will go a long way in deciding where this game winds up.

Even more, seeing if Spencer’s squad dials up all the blitz audibles or if they Bill Young it and go for an extra-breathable fit on the receivers will tell how Oklahoma State plans to deal with it.

Trench Warfare

Neither the Oklahoma State offensive line nor the West Virginia defensive front season will be lauded as some of the nation’s best. But that doesn’t make them any less important, week in and week out.

Apparently, the issue for West Virginia has been the tackling.

I don’t know if we’ve just been spoiled by watching guys like Karl Joseph and Nick Kwiatkoski over the last few years or what, but man it seems like we’re really having trouble putting guys on the ground this year.

I lost count of how many times Saturday we had guys bottled up for no gain or even a loss, only to let them wiggle forward for a couple yards. There’s a problem with that in and of itself, but it’s even more concerning when you consider we haven’t even played the two best offenses on our schedule yet. [Smoking Musket]

Here’s the lucky dog that recovered the fumble by the punt team in the end zone on the Pokes, straight breaking ankles.

If West Virginia’s woeful open field tackling persists, you could see Justice Hill recover nicely from that 3.5 yards per carry upward to a healthy five. This would effectively force one of those dropped-back safeties to play in the same zip code as the line of scrimmage — a helpful trick in opening up the deep ball.

Crack the Nut

There’s no more shock value associated with what defenses are going to throw at the Pokes. It’s no longer a feasible game plan to pass to open up the run — the run is open and it’s just a question of if another guy will be forced into the box to play run defense.

That being said — West Virginia is likely to mimic Texas and TCU’s defensive setup, and it already does in some ways with its 3-3-5 base defense.

Now, is every team going to have the athletes that Texas does? Mike Gundy would sell his annual pass at Karsten Creek to buy a Malik Jefferson tree. Fortunately, those don’t grow in the Blue Ridge mountains and the Pokes won’t see that type of guy this week.

While West Virginia will play five defensive backs and three down linemen, like Texas, the Mountaineers might be more vulnerable. They’re allowing 4.9 yards per carry — placing them 105th in FBS. [Tulsa World]

So which way will this wishbone break? The Pokes and their low threes in yards per carry against Texas or closer to five where West Virginia’s world is? It’s hard to say but it’s hard to imagine a world where Gundy doesn’t insist on establishing the run before the bear grease in his mullet is dry.

In summary, this could be a high flying shootout, reminescent of a classic Gundy-Leach soiree. It’s always felt like West Virginia is Texas Tech with a running game, we’ll see how things play out in this wacky series on Saturday.

Most Read

Copyright © 2011- 2023 White Maple Media