WVU linemen outplayed against Syracuse, ready to bounce back
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 01:10
The success of an offense depends on the rhythm and timing it has to make plays.
That starts with the offensive line. So, when the WVU offensive line struggled to protect junior quarterback Geno Smith in the pocket against Syracuse, the whole offense failed to produce.
The surprising thing about the performance of the offensive line was that they got completely outplayed and out hustled by the Syracuse defensive front.
"That's a mindset, that's a mentality, that's toughness," said West Virginia offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh. "You have to have that. I have to help develop that as well and get out of them more than what they gave last week."
"It's your pride. It's your competitiveness getting tested," he said.
It says a lot about a team with how it responds after getting beat. Bedenbaugh is expecting his players to get back up and play harder against the team's next opponent.
"(Our mentality is) going to get tested this week," Bedenbaugh said. "We'll see how (the players) respond. If you have any pride about yourself then you'll respond to it."
Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone and his coaching staff's worked their game plan to perfection against West Virginia's high powered offense. The Orange defense brought different blitz packages on about 16 of the first 22 plays, according to Bedenbaugh.
Except for about two plays where a Syracuse defender got a free shot into the backfield, the Mountaineer linemen were targeted correctly and had man-on-man situations, but they just didn't execute and finish blocks the way they had in other weeks.
"We have to have the mentality and the mindset that we're going to protect the QB," Bedenbaugh said. "The thing that happens when you have five, six, seven guys blitzing, is it puts you in one-on-one matchups; it's man on man."
The Orange blitzed more than five players in several situations, and the WVU linemen did not recognize who they needed to pick up for most of the night, giving Smith almost no time to make a throw downfield.
Smith was sacked four times in the game – two less than he had been in the other games combined.
"Some of it (was) effort, some of it they brought some stuff that we didn't see," said senior left tackle Don Barclay. "We were there for our blocks, and we just have to finish them."
"We have to get better, bottom line," he said. "Every team blitzes and we have to pick it up."
The players believe they had a successful practice Tuesday and are ready for the defensive pressure that Rutgers and every other team will bring the rest of the season.
Barclay believes it's up to the seniors on the team to get the players back in the right direction this week and get everything corrected for the rest of the season.
"It's our last six games and we have to end strong and we have to pick it up and get back on the winning track," Barclay said. "You have to lead by example out there … do your job everyday and then obviously you have to be a vocal leader, too."