The Times West Virginian

Sports

November 14, 2012

WVU to face ‘amazing’ Oklahoma pass defense

MORGANTOWN — There are many ways to look at Saturday’s matchup between Oklahoma and West Virginia University, but in the end the game boils down to one very simple angle that cannot be ignored … and its angle that does not favor West Virginia.

The heart of both offenses is the quarterbacks – record-shattering Geno Smith at West Virginia and an equally prolific Landry Jones at Oklahoma.

The quarterback who has the better day could well lead his team to the victory, each being capable of completely dominating play.

But here’s the catch.

Smith will be throwing against one of the best pass defenses in college football, a pass defense that ranks No. 8 in the nation, that gives up an average of 170.22 yards a game.

Jones, on the other hand will not be throwing against one of the worst defenses in college football; he will be facing the very worst, a pass defense ranked 120th and last, one that gives up twice as many yards as Oklahoma at 343 per game.

Oh, yes, shall we mention that West Virginia has allowed 27 touchdown passes this year – an average of three in each of its nine games that has led to a 5-4 record.

Oklahoma? The Sooners, too, have given up three TDs … not per game, but during the whole season.

Even Smith was not aware of that and, when so informed, had his eyes widen and said, “Wow! That is amazing.”

Especially since the Sooners play in the pass happy Big 12.

WVU coach Dana Holgorsen knows what he’s up against as he tries to break the first four-game losing streak he’s ever been involved in during his coaching career.

“This poses different challenges,” he said, before re-emphasizing it. “I can assure you it poses different challenges.”

Oklahoma isn’t very tricky at all. It doesn’t have to be.

“There are one-on-one matchups. Are our guys good enough to win those one-on-one matchups? We will see Saturday night,” Holgorsen said.

Oklahoma doesn’t think WVU can win those one-on-one matchups. The Sooners don’t think anyone can win those matchups.

Smith isn’t sure the Sooners are right.

Asked how he would approach the Mountaineers’ high-powered passing game, the one built around Smith throwing to Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops didn’t act too concerned.

“Just like we do every week, we don’t worry much of what the other guys do and don’t do,” the veteran coach said. “We worry about how we need to practice and how we need to execute, whether it’s running, or other things. It’s about how being as good as we can be.”

And that is very, very good.

Holgorsen has spent a lot of time at a lot of different places trying to dissect this defense, and he understands it well.

“When you think of a one-on-one matchup, you are not looking at one receiver having to beat one DB. You are looking at four receivers and potentially a running back who have to win those matchups, and then you have two safeties that do what they want to,” he explained. “They still have help over the top, and then there are four people up front, and then add the linebacker, which is a fifth guy up front.

“So there are five lineman and five people. They have to win that one-on-one matchup, too. It boils down to they think they have better players than who they play, which is why they are pretty good at that scheme, because they have pretty good players.”

That is as much of an understatement as you will read this week.

And what kind of challenge does Jones and his receivers present to the Mountaineer defense?

“This is probably one of the most talented groups of receivers we have faced all year and possibly in the country,” Holgorsen admitted. “Kenny Stills has been there for a while and is good. They hit two home runs on two transfers. The (Justin) Brown kid from Penn State, and the (Jalen) Saunders kid from Fresno are special.”

Stills is the key receiver and his quarterback, Jones, knows it.

“I think Kenny’s speed and his explosiveness separate him from the other guys that we have,” he said. “He does a great job of using his speed and using leverage to help him out.

“Maybe he is standing at a guy a certain way or exploding off the ball or chopping his feet in different ways that he uses to get separation,” he continued. “It is just different from a guy like Justin (Brown), who uses his size. Kenny does a great job of using his speed and leverage to gain separation from people.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • NMHS #14 hit.jpg North Marion goes 2-for-2; Fairmont Senior 0-for-2 in tournament

    A day after an 11-0 mercy-rule victory at Philip Barbour, the North Marion Huskies were at it again.
    Chelsi Latocha threw three no-hit innings, Shelby King drove in five runs in the first inning and the Huskies rolled to a 20-0 victory over the winless Fairmont Senior Polar Bears in the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School.

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Brewers’ Lohse beats Pirates again

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 19, 2014

  • Bucs trade for Mets’ Ike Davis

    The New York Mets traded slumping first baseman Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night, parting ways with a power hitter who proved to be too inconsistent at the plate.
    Pittsburgh sent minor league right-hander Zack Thornton and a player to be named to New York for the 27-year-old Davis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Penguins wary of Blue Jackets after Game 1 escape

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 19, 2014

  • Tori Postlewait front.jpg East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters

    Tori Postlewait made a deal with her great-uncle, Kenny Carpenter, before her freshman season.
    If the Bees’ pitcher tossed a no-hitter, Carpenter promised to give her $20.
    Well, it took four years, but it’s finally time for Postlewait’s great-uncle to pay up.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • East tennis splits with Polar Bears

    Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont split a pair of tennis matches Thursday, with Fairmont Senior winning the boys’ match and East Fairmont taking the girls’ competition.
    In the Bees’ 6-1 girls’ victory, Cara Laswell took second singles, 8-2. Erica Gorman won third singles, 8-1. And Carrington Reese won fourth singles, 8-3.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • McCutchen, Alvarez lead Pirates over Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos