WVU offense ready for tough test against Texas Tech defense
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 08:10
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen is no stranger to change. In just three years, the Davenport, Iowa, native served stints as a coach at Houston, Oklahoma State and West Virginia.
Texas Tech can sympathize with that notion of change, as the Red Raiders have had four defensive coordinators in four years. Only five games into his tenure, Art Kaufman has provided a level of stability and success unrivaled by his predecessors.
The Red Raiders are ranked No. 2 in total defense and also boast the nation’s top pass defense – something Holgorsen and the rest of the Mountaineers are well aware of.
"Defensively, they’re one of the top teams in the country. They have given up 200 yards per game, so people haven’t moved the ball on them," he said.
"We were in here 16 hours yesterday, trying to figure out creative ways to get first downs. They do a good job against the run, they do a good job against the pass, and they create turnovers.
"We’re going to have to play as good as we have all year offensively."
Senior quarterback Geno Smith said the Red Raiders’ defense will get an additional boost from its home crowd – more than 60,000 fans will be in attendance for what will serve as Texas Tech’s homecoming game.
"They do a great job on making it tough on quarterbacks. They get a lot of interceptions and turnovers," he said.
"They really make things complex with the way they react to the ball. They do a great job of reading the quarterback’s eyes and reacting to the ball."
Holgorsen said Texas Tech is not a heavy-blitzing team, instead opting to drop back into coverage to make things difficult on opposing quarterbacks.
"They’re not very tricky. They’re very, very sound and are never out of position. They blitz 8 percent of the time," he said.
"They’re not a gimmick defense – they’re a sound effort defense. They play hard, and their guys are in position.
"That poses problems when you don’t know what they’re going to do, and that aggravates you from a game-plan standpoint. We can come up with a bunch of plays, but it’s hard to execute against them."
In order to open up the passing game, West Virginia will look to sophomore running back Andrew Buie to field another strong performance.
Buie, who rushed a career high 31 times for 209 yards and two touchdowns against Texas, said he will look to make the most of what the Red Raiders present to him on defense.
"It was a good win against Texas. We were glad that we were able to go out there and put that win together. Now it’s about moving forward and getting ready for Texas Tech," he said.
"I just want to go out and play my game. If the opportunities are there, I just want to make the most of my opportunities and play ball."
For Buie, a big key to his success against the
Longhorns was the stellar performance by the offensive line. Without the O-line, Buie said he would not have been able to play the way he did against Texas.
"The offensive line did a phenomenal job up front and opened up big creases. The fullbacks did a good job," he said.
"The guys out on the perimeter did a good job blocking downfield. It was a total team effort on offense that allowed me to get those yards."
Texas Tech is limiting opposing teams to just 16.8 points per game. Though the Red Raiders have played weaker teams – Texas State and Northwestern State – Holgorsen said the level of talent on the field is indicative of why Texas Tech has been able to achieve its early season success.
"They play quite a bit of people. The safeties are the guys that always show up. No. 12 (D.J. Johnson) and No. 16 (Cody Davis) have been around there for a long time – they’re both seniors," he said.
"Those are the two guys on defense that I remember from when I prepared against them four years ago and three years ago. They’re big kids. They come downhill a lot and are the two leading tacklers.
"Other than that, they play a lot of people. They play several different backers and rotate their D-line, much like they’re doing at receiver."