Maryland game preps WVU defense for Baylor
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 07:09
When junior linebacker Doug Rigg saw redshirt junior safety Darwin Cook break through the Maryland line of scrimmage just as the ball was being snapped, he had one thought in his head: "Please don’t let me miss this."
"I saw Cook come in as soon as the ball was snapped (and) saw (the) ball bouncing around," he said. "My first thought was ‘Please don’t let me miss this,’ but as soon as I got it, I was like, ‘No way I’m getting caught.’"
Rigg would scoop up the Cook-induced fumble and scamper 51-yards untouched to the end zone. It was a play that changed the tone of the game in West Virginia’s favor – something Rigg said he didn’t realize until he was back on the sidelines.
"It gave us some momentum on defense and gave our offense a little kickstart, too," he said.
"At the time, I didn’t really realize it until I went off (the field) and (redshirt sophomore defensive lineman) Jewone (Snow) was like, ‘That was a pretty big play.’"
As West Virginia prepares for its first game against Big 12 foe Baylor Saturday, Rigg said he thinks the defense needs to make sure it plays to the whistle, which might eliminate some of the missed tackles the defense had against Maryland.
"A lot of times on plays, it was two and three guys around, but it was just that one person was waiting for the other guy to (tackle) instead of multiple people getting (the ball carrier) down at the same time," he said.
"That’s stuff we really need to do in the Big 12 in upcoming play, so practice needs to be much more focused on finishing the play rather than just blowing the whistle before we get to that point," he said.
Though the team forced a season-high three turnovers and recorded five sacks, Rigg said the Mountaineers’ defense left a couple more opportunities on the table in the Maryland game.
"We missed a lot of sacks, I know that," he said. "And when (Maryland’s) receivers would catch passes, we missed a lot of tackles. We could have had so many (tackles for loss) and sacks and just plays where we could have got off the field on third down, and they just (found a way to get) a first down.
"We’re in the right positions, we’re getting to the ball and (we’re) running to the ball; it’s just a matter of making the play," he said.
Rigg said he got a chance to watch Baylor last week on television, and the one thing he noticed about the Bears’ offense was its ability to line up quickly.
"The first thing I thought was, ‘Man, they line up very fast,’" he said.
"I didn’t like that, but hey, we’re used to it in practice. We go against our offense, (and) they line up fast, and Maryland, at some times, they were lined up fast – even though they were checking it, they were lining up fast," he said.
Rigg said he found the tough battle Maryland provided as a boost for the team as it prepares for Baylor Saturday. Though fans might have been happier with a blowout, Rigg said he felt the game helped prepare the team for close matchups in the Big 12.
"After (the Maryland) game, some people were upset. I was like, ‘Hey, I’d rather have a game like this going into Big 12 (competition),’" he said.
"It shows how good the BCS schools are and what we’re going to get ourselves into, so I’d rather have a win like (Maryland) where we have to scratch and claw for a victory rather than just beat them."