Passion, Energy Tabbed As Keys For WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — All of a sudden it’s game week again for West Virginia, no less at Thursday night prime time Big 12 home match up with Baylor.
It had to have felt like a century since they last took the football field and laid a 30-14 egg at Iowa State, dropping them out of the Top 10 and casting all kinds of doubt upon just how good a team they are.
The coaches’ job this week?
To make sure that doubt doesn’t creep into the players’ thinking.
“We have to do a great job as a coaching staff making sure we don’t let that game beat us two times,” is the way Mountaineers’ defensive coordinator Tony Gibson put it on Monday.
Players spent some time early last week going over the disaster that Iowa State, the quarterback hurries, the 31 missed tackles — yes, an incredible 31 that Gibson called “ridiculous”.
Will Grier, the quarterback, spent a lot of time looking at the film of that game before moving forward to an improved Baylor team that will bring a 4-3 record into the game off a narrow 23-17 defeat at Texas in which they shut out the Longhorns in the second half.
“I’m my biggest critic,” he said. “I watched it a couple of times … and that’s an understatement. I don’t think I made any big mistakes but I got to find a good balance in that gray area between throwing it away and trying to extend the play. We were dealing with lot of adversity and it felt like there were no answers.
“I have to find it within myself to find a way to move the chains to make the team successful. I didn’t do a good job of that Saturday. I have to find a way and will moving forward.”
You can’t pin it on Grier, or on the offense, or on the defense.
In fact, in Grier’s view, it came down to a mindset, Iowa State had it, West Virginia lacked it.
“The main thing in college football is you overcome stuff when you play with passion and energy,” Grier said. “A lot of it is passion and energy, moving a guy in the run game when he doesn’t want to move. That’s not an easy task.
“You might go at the right guy but you have to be able to move him. A lot of that is they played with the greatest amount of passion and energy.”
Passion and energy. How can you not have it when you play but once a week?
There was a way. They were at Iowa State. It was nationally televised night game. Iowa State wore black.
That might sound like a familiar refrain, for that’s exactly when No. 2 Ohio State ran into at Purdue when it was upset this week.
“It happens in college football,” Coach Dana Holgorsen said. “You’ve got to be ready every single week.”
And much of same trappings are what Baylor is going to come across in Milan Puskar Stadium on Thursday.
That should bring back the passion and energy.
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Back up linebacker Adam Hensley reportedly is out for the year with a torn ACL, although Holgorsen did not mention it at his press conference.
This weakens an already depleted group that is without Brendan Ferns and Quondarius Qualls, who have been out all year trying to come back from surgery. Dylan Tonkery has been bothered by a groin injury and missed the Iowa State game.
He is expected back this week.
Derrek Pitts is also not ready to return at safety and Tony Gibson, when asked what that position looked like, said:
“We have Kenny Robinson at free safety, Dravon Askew-Henry at Spur and Toyous Avery at Bandit, then there’s me and (safety coach) Matt Caponi.”
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WVU’s Saturday, Nov. 3, football game against Texas at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, will be determined this weekend as the networks have exercised the first of their four six-day window opportunities.
The network television broadcast options for West Virginia’s game against Texas on Nov. 3 are FOX or ABC/ESPN. Times that are options for the game are either 3:30 p.m. ET, 7:15 p.m. or 8 p.m. The game time and network designation will be announced late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.