WVU Football: How to Improve the Defense Before Texas Game
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The WVU defense needs help and needs it now. Before Texas. There are things that can and hopefully will be done during the next week.
There had better be, or the Mountaineers will face their first loss. Give Texas the ball for 80 plays and see what happens.
In a Bob Hertzel article for the Times West Virginian, defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said, "We have to make some personnel changes. We have to make better calls. We have to do a better job attacking the ball in the air,” he continued. “The bottom line is they executed better than we did.”
The coach was right. At least it started out that way. In the first half, the WVU defense was way off in its game plan. Plus senior Pat Miller played way too soft in an apparent attempt to make up for his lack of speed.
The mostly hapless WVU secondary gave up 700 yards for the game. Baylor had 581 yards passing with five touchdowns.
I blame the secondary, because the defensive line and linebackers did their job most of the time. They held Baylor to 119 yards rushing, and Baylor's longest run was 12 yards.
After giving up 35 first-half points, the coaches made effective halftime adjustments. WVU owned the third quarter, 21-7.
Then came the inevitable. The WVU secondary just got tired. You can only run full speed play after play so many times until fatigue sets in.
So other than replacing Miller, what can be done?
Run the ball.
Geno Smith is the second coming of Superman as a quarterback, but he is also becoming the second-leading rusher. And not by choice.
Andrew Buie had an average day with too many carries. The offensive line played much better. But the "Bull" wasn't there to mix up the run with Buie again.
Shawne Alston's injury must be slow-healing. Find someone, coach.
Dustin Garrison is just not ready. He tries as hard as he can, but he's still a step slow and doesn't have his cuts. Whether it's handing off to the fullback as a single setback or giving a freshman a shot is up to the coaches, but the time has come.
Some fans are calling for inside receiver Cody Clay to be moved to the "A" back position. Give the kid a break! He's a tight end who's been moved to another position already. And he's still a redshirt freshman.
The Baylor game was saved mostly because another receiver continued to pick up his game and gave Geno a dependable third target. The dynamic duo of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are now the three amigos, thanks to J.D. Woods.
What an incredible catch! What an incredible game all three of them had. I'm not going to rehash the amazing exploits of Geno and those three receivers. That's been done quite well already.
Here's hoping Alston will be back at 100 percent next Saturday. If not, coaches, take a chance on somebody. If WVU can run as well as pass, the defense gets some rest. And that is how to fix this defense. Run the ball!
As always, comments and debate welcome!
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