Mountaineer offense looking to run clean game plan against Maryland defense
Published: Friday, September 16, 2011
Updated: Friday, September 16, 2011 01:09
The No. 18 West Virginia football team faces its toughest test yet, as it travels to College Park this weekend to take on Maryland.
WVU is coming off of a second-half blowout win against Division IAA Norfolk State, while Maryland had a big win at home against Miami.
Former UConn head coach Randy Edsall made his way to Maryland and brought the same philosophy of coaching to the Terps – no penalties and a powerful, come-at-you type offense.
Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton has a more up-tempo passing scheme, similar to what WVU runs. Mixing the two styles together creates a dynamic attack, especially with an accurate, experienced quarterback like Maryland's Danny O'Brien.
"They have a very disciplined coach in coach (Randy) Edsall," said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen at a press conference Tuesday. "He prides himself on winning games. They are smart in what they do from a turnover-margin standpoint."
"That's the number-one thing we've got to take care of. We've got to get good at what the game plan is and line it up to try to win the game," he said.
Wake Forest transfer Devon Brown has been to Maryland twice previously while playing for the Demon Deacons, but did not have the experience he had hoped. Last year, the senior receiver got a concussion on the opening kickoff of the game.
"Hopefully Saturday, whether we have a good game or not, I just want to come out with a victory," Brown said.
Maryland's defensive front is big and physical, with some very skilled players who can move around and make the other team think they're playing one scheme, and then they play a different one at the last second.
Maryland defensive end Kenny Tate is very athletic and has not only played defensive end, but also linebacker and safety.
"He's clearly a good player," Holgorsen said. "He's got experience and will more than likely play for a long time … We'll look for specific matchups at times, but for the majority of situations we're just looking for what schemes and what plays we should run based on what we feel they're going to do."
Holgorsen planned to focus on improving the running game in practice this week by giving the young running backs a bunch of reps and help them continue to understand the techniques of the run blocking game.
Freshman running back Dustin Garrison is feeling more confident after getting his jitters out of the way in his first two games.
"We just have to go out there to the best of our ability," Garrison said. "No matter who we're playing, we just have to go out there with the mindset that we can't be beat. They've got a great group of guys, they've got a lot of backs and linemen who are really good, so it's going to be a good game."
Garrison said running backs coach Robert Gillespie explained to him and the other young running backs that they need to run with more purpose.
The Mountaineers know it will be a great accomplishment to win on the road against a talented Maryland team, and are committed to improving the offense from week to week.
"I think we have a sense of what's expected of us," Holgorsen said. "They need to know what their job is and to get better at it every day. Our job as coaches is to make sure that our players understand the expectations and what we're trying to do."