Accountability Drives WVU Receiving Corps
MORGANTOWN, W.Va — It’s revealing, this standard to which West Virginia’s wide receivers hold themselves. That has been one of the driving forces for assistant coach Tyron Carrier during his time in the WVU program, and it might not have been displayed any better than in the Mountaineers’ 35-6 win over Kansas State.
Oddly enough, that demonstration came during a performance that probably wasn’t among the best the group has produced over the past couple of seasons, but oft-times its how people react in the face of adversity, and not during those times of great success, that defines the values they hold most high. Thus it was that a few dropped passes and missed chances served to illustrate what drives one of the best receiving corps in the nation.
“At this point I don’t have to say anything,” Carrier said following the game. “They hold themselves to a certain standard. Look at Gary (Jennings). He’s almost teary-eyed because he dropped that ball. Look at T.J. Simmons He was frustrated. Marcus (Simms) was frustrated. In this offense you’ll get another opportunity. When it does come your way you have to make sure you seize that moment.”
It should be made clear at this point that by no means did the Mountaineer receivers have a bad day overall. Five touchdown receptions, including deep strikes of 82 and 56 yards that are part of a 356-yard day, do not add up to a poor performance. However, it was that smallish handful of drops and mistakes that resonated, and in fact, probably pushed, the group to better their play as the game progressed.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of ‘Well, this is just going to be one of those days’, and slack off a bit. That this did not occur against Kansas State is a great testament to how well Carrier has been able to instill his message of accountability.
“I try to build off the group I played with,” said Carrier, who was the alpha in a talented receiving group at the University of Houston, where he caught 320 passes for 3,493 yards and 22 touchdowns during a stellar career. “We loved each other, and all of us talk to this day. These guys [at West Virginia] are really special, almost better, if not better than where we were.”
* * * * * *
Whatever lingering bad feelings that remained were erased in the third quarter, when Tevin Bush got loose down the visitor’s sideline, snared a pass from Will Grier and raced into the end zone. The first scoring catch of Bush’s career came at the “expense” of David Sills, who was out for a breather on the play.
That play ironically capped a week of practice in which Carrier had joked with Sills about just that scenario.
“I messed with David the whole week about plays that we thought would be good, and I told him we were going to take him out on every last one of them,” Carrier said with amusement. “It just so happened that the first one I took him out on Tevin scored. [David] looked at me and shot up the field to celebrate with Tevin. It was a funny joke.”
Sills, of course, understood it was simply a luck of the draw situation, but did admit he was anticipating getting a good result from the play.
“It was something I was looking forward to, but it was really great to see Tevin get into the end zone. When he came to the sideline he had the biggest smile on his face. It was big for him, and it’s good to see him get in and roll into the end zone.”