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Cody Clay to Help WVU Run Game: No Changes on Defense

MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 29:  Tavon Austin #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers runs after the catch against the Baylor Bears during the game on September 29, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Michael WalkerAnalyst IINovember 6, 2016

According to Coach Holgorsen's afternoon news conference, Cody Clay will be spending time at "B" back, reasoning that "We have no running backs, they're all beat up."

During the news conference (via WVIllustrated.com), the coach praised the running game against Baylor and said he was satisfied with Andrew Buie at "A" back. Holgorsen said he didn't know how many yards WVU had rushing (151 yards) but it was enough to make Baylor respect the run. Buie was also praised for getting the yards when it was needed. He had 25 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

Andrew Buie was relieved sparingly by Dustin Garrison who had three carries for 28 yards including a 17 yard run for a first down. Geno Smith was the second leading rusher with five carries for 31 yards.

Holgorsen then singled out Clay for praise in answer to a reporter's question about his play against Baylor. Clay is a 6'3", 255 lb redshirt freshman listed on the roster as an inside receiver.

The coach said, "It seems like Cody has played every position but center since he's been here. The kid's playing well. He's not the most fluid runner but he can run and catch well."

Clay played 44 offensive snaps and was often responsible for protecting Smith and springing a run by the "A" back with his blocking.

 

The coach hinted that Clay would continue be used in the "B" back position until the fullbacks were healed. He gave no indication when that might be.

It appears for the time being that Clay is the "B" back in two back sets and may see him run the ball in short yardage situations. That may improve the running game as well as rest the beleaguered defense.

Someone asked if WVU had done anything against Baylor for the first time. Holgorsen pointed to the five receiver sets, adding, "Geno's 51 passes worked out pretty well didn't they?"

When asked about replacing some starting defensive backs, Holgorsen simply said, "It is what it is. It's not like we can trade the ones we have or pick one up off of waivers." He stated that both the experienced defensive backs and the new ones are going to have to man up and get better. He said it was the coaches' responsibility to make then better.

Holgorsen praised the play of the front seven on defense, citing that they had limited the run and harassed the quarterback all day.

While the coach was pleased with the play of the front seven starters, he wasn't happy with the late game drop off with the play of backups. Holgorsen pointed out that they would not usually face 90 plays.

Next Saturday's opponent is at Texas.The Longhorns prefer to establish the run and mix in the pass. Texas averages closer to 65 offensive plays a game. That is welcome news for the WVU defense.

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