No. 13 Mountaineers to face different style of offense Saturday
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 03:10
Life in the Big 12 Conference is rough for any defense, especially one outfitted with a new defensive coordinator, a different alignment and inexperienced players across the roster.
This unfortunate combination for the No. 13 West Virginia football team has left the Mountaineer defense ranked 112th in the nation in points allowed, something fans in Morgantown are particularly used to.
And the chore won’t get any easier when No. 4 Kansas State and its senior quarterback Collin Klein make the trip to Morgantown Saturday night.
The Wildcats are averaging more than 40 points per game, and Klein is the main catalyst for their offensive success.
"He’s an amazing athlete. That’s why he’s one of the best players in the country," said West Virginia defensive coordinator Joe DeForest. "You see people try to defend him several different ways, and he’s still successful. We’re going to have to have to get more hats on the ball."
Klein has racked up nearly 40 rushing touchdowns in his career at Kansas State, as well as 21 passing touchdowns.
His dual-threat style allows him to make his own decisions in the offense as far as where the ball goes.
And his mental game is just has impressive as his 6-foot-5, 226-pound frame.
"It’s his decision making. He’s really smart," said Mountaineer freshman linebacker Isaiah Bruce. "And his size definitely helps. It seems like every time he gets tackled, he falls forward."
His running ability, though, is what makes him most dangerous.
"He’s such a patient runner, but he’s so big and strong at the same time," said West Virginia linebacker Doug Rigg. "He was out running people, too, and he’s a huge quarterback. He’s just a great all-around player."
The Mountaineers have faced some mobile quarterbacks in 2012, but none compare to the running abilities of Klein.
"They create such a different challenge than last week. It’s totally opposite," DeForest said. "So we have to switch gears this week and prepare differently."
However, having faced mostly pass-oriented offenses against teams such as Marshall, Baylor and Texas Tech early in the season, most members of the West Virginia defense look forward to the change of pace.
"It’s a lot of old-school football with the powers and isos, and we really haven’t played that yet this year," Rigg said.
A between-the-tackles-based scheme is something the Mountaineers faced frequently in the Big East Conference, but they haven’t seen much of since their transition to the modern-style offenses in the Big 12.
However, the power-run game presented by the Wildcats creates a pleasant problem for WVU.
"That’s what I’m built for. I’m excited for this game," Rigg said. "I’m built well for that, and hopefully I’ll play well this weekend."
Although Bruce didn’t experience Big East Conference play, he has
played power football before.
"I love in-between-the-tackles (football)," Bruce said. "We get to be involved a little bit more, which helps me contribute more."