Texas presents different challenge for WVU defense
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 07:10
While last week’s 70-63 shootout between No. 7 West Virginia and No. 24 Baylor was a showdown between two fast-paced, pass-heavy offenses; when the Mountaineers travel to Austin this weekend to take on Texas, it will be a much different look for WVU to get used to.
The Longhorns bring a balanced offense that is averaging more than 47 points per game. In addition to a talented quarterback in sophomore David Ash, Texas also has a stable of three running backs who receive significant carries each game.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said Monday he thinks the Mountaineers match up better defensively with the Texas offense.
"Defensively, we played well against the run (against Baylor)," Holgorsen said. "Texas is obviously going to try to establish the run. It’s a different type of run game – they’re going to try to use tight ends and fullbacks – and we’re going to have to adjust some things we’re doing defensively to match up with that.
"We’ve got to continue to get better at that and then, when they put the ball in the air, we’ve got to do a better job of making plays on the ball."
Mountaineers having success on third downs
Even though the West Virginia offense had as much success as it has ever had Saturday against Baylor, a lot of the success the Mountaineers were able to have came on third down.
WVU converted on 12 of its 15 third downs against the Bears Saturday, and the Mountaineers lead the nation in third-down conversions. West Virginia has been successful on 28 of the 46 third downs it has faced this season.
In Saturday’s game West Virginia did it with balance. Senior quarterback Geno Smith completed seven of eight passes for 108 yards and a touchdown and the Mountaineers ran the ball seven times for 34 yards and a pair of scores.
This week, West Virginia will face a Texas team that has also been very efficient in the later downs this season, as they have converted 58 percent of the time.
"The key to that is just manageable third downs," Holgorsen said. "We were a lot better on third downs this week than we were last week. We got ourselves behind the chains last week a lot. (Texas) doesn’t get behind the chains very much, they just try to move the ball forward, which is the same thing we’re trying to do.
"It’s the same philosophy, we just may be going about it a different way."