West Virginia Football: Previewing the Norfolk State Game
Coming off a Week 1 win over Marshall, the West Virginia Mountaineers are now preparing for the Week 2 matchup against the Norfolk State Spartans.
Given last Sunday’s game, the Mountaineers have a short week to prepare for the Spartans who conquered the Virginia State Trojans during Week 1 with a final of 37-3.
This should not affect the way the Mountaineer coaching staff readies the team for Saturday.
During a Tuesday media briefing, WVU head coach, Dana Holgorsen—when asked, “What do you see out of Norfolk State”—replied:
“Not much…this is our game plan day, we’re a day behind so I’ll spend the next eight hours dissecting what they’re doing and come up with a game plan…
Defensively they run the same scheme as what our defense does, the [defensive coordinator] they got there and Jeff [Casteel] are buddies and they talk ball and Jeff coached them… That’s what we’re gonna prepare for.
They might come out and do something completely different, which most teams do.
It shouldn’t be a problem figuring out what they are doing, based on the familiarity that we have with our own defense.”
Kickoff for the second game of the young Mountaineer season is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday and will be televised on the Big East Network.
The game can also be heard on the radio via the Mountaineers Sports Network.
Here are the top five reasons WVU will beat Norfolk State.
No. 5: The Host of Mountaineer Recievers
When one thinks about the passing game of the WVU they think of Tavon Austin.
Without a doubt, that is the right train of thought.
However, as we saw during the West Virginia season opener, there are a couple more names that need to be added.
Stedman Bailey and Ivan McCartney are both former Miramar High School (Fla.) teammates of quarterback Geno Smith.
Needless to say, they have had plenty of time to get used to Smith’s style.
This was evident during Sunday’s win over Marshall.
There are plenty of guys who can catch the ball for the Mountaineers.
Others include Ryan Nehlen, Devon Brown, Willie Millhouse, Brad Starks and Tyler Urban.
No. 4: The Mountaineer Defense
Photo Courtesy of wvillustrated.com
Expect to see a shutdown of the Norfolk State offense.
Ranked third in total defense last season, the Mountaineers’ defensive unit will continue to be tops in the nation.
Defensive end Bruce Irvin is scary.
When the Spartans offense sees this guy running at them, they will over-compensate through fear, which will allow Irvin and other guys like, Keith Tandy and Terence Garvin to hone in on the ball and make the play.
No. 3: Quarterback Geno Smith
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Not only can Geno Smith throw the ball, he shows poise and patience in the pocket.
He has shown great improvement in not getting startled when the opposite team has surrounded him.
Smith also knows how to save himself.
When the time does come that he needs to get out of the pocket, he will know exactly where to go and how to get there.
Smith is a Heisman contender.
We will really start to see that this weekend.
No. 2: The Mountaineer Faithful
Never has there been a time when the fans of WVU have not supported their team.
From the Mountaineer Maniacs (the students), to the guy who brought his five year old son to his see his first game, to the old fellow who hasn’t missed a game in Morgantown since his wedding day in 1945, to the folks watching or listening at home, they all love their Mountaineers.
Furthermore, the players see them as part of the team.
Win or lose, there will always be the Mountaineer Faithful.
Only this week, expect them to be singing Country Roads at the end of the game with smiles from ‘Eer to ‘Eer.
No. 1: The Coaching Staff
It really takes me a while to get used to new coaches. I never want to admit my like for them until I have truly seen that they are worth it.
However, after watching and listening to head coach Dana Holgorsen, I think I have grown to like him.
No, I don’t agree with his personal preference when it comes to the beverage of choice but, when I saw him rub that chunk of coal during the inaugural “Mountaineer Mantrip,” I had no other choice.
I think he is going to be alright.
The system that he has installed in Morgantown will be just enough to carry the Mountaineers passed Norfolk State and all of the other teams that they will face.
All of the coaches, including defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, have my utmost respect.
A coaching staff that has gone through an offseason like that of WVU and can still come together, work together and produce in the way they have produced, deserves respect.
It’s going to be a long season for the Mountaineers’ opponents.