WVU’s Tyron Carrier: Looking Back To Move Ahead
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There’s a basic message emanating from the wide receiver room at the West Virginia football complex.
“Remember last week.”
Assistant coach Tyron Carrier, in a bit of a departure from the normal coaching approach of putting the previous game away as quickly as possible, is using a couple of deficiencies from the Oklahoma State loss as a platform for not just motivation, but improvement.
“Period, point blank simple. We have to beat man,” said Carrier, who saw his receivers face the most physical play from an opposing secondary this season in the loss to OSU. “We got frustrated with being tugged on and we lost some technique, and lost some of those battles.”
Without question, the officiating crew in last week’s game let both sides play. While the officiating wasn’t one-sided, OSU probably benefited more, as its corners were more capable of sticking close to receivers in order to get their hands on them and disrupt routes than WVU’s are. The problem was that West Virginia’s receivers, as Carrier noted, didn’t respond with the tactics they have been taught to break contact and turn the tables on the defense.
“We have been focusing on our technique in practice,” wide receiver David Sills said, noting that study of the shortcomings on video has been a point of emphasis. We have to focus on that in order to help Will out, especially in order to take vertical shots.”
Carrier is eager to see how his players respond.
“We are hoping we get a little bit of man (coverage), the third-year WVU coach said. “Our receivers have a bad taste in their mouths. They have something to prove, and I have a lot to prove as a coach. It was tough to sleep after last week.”
Opposing WVU this week is a pair of Sooner corners who aren’t as big as those of the Cowboys, but who might be faster.
“Their defense is going through a change right now, but the cornerbacks are a seasoned group to me,” Carrier analyzed. “You kind of saw them improving a little bit. I told my guys ‘This week, you are going to see a better group also’. They are all big-time recruits.”
In addition to studying the film from last week’s game, Carrier has dug a bit deeper into the archives.
“I played against (interim OU defensive coordinator Ruffin (McNeill) when I was at Houston. “The play some quarters, some two man, and have some different ways to adjust to motion. I actually went back to a game when I played. It’s almost identical [to what they are doing now] .
Despite that, there are only so many changes that can be implemented in a short amount of time. Carrier sees some of the old McNeill in what OU is doing now, but notes that he can’t just throw away all of the reps and practices that were done with the Stoops system. A more full overhaul will come in the offseason, under McNeill or someone else, but for now it’s just bits and pieces of his DNA mixed in.
In addition to the importance of the game, which is for all intents and purposes a play-in for a spot in the Big 12 Championship, Carrier will be dealing with the emotions of Senior Night. Four of his players — Gary Jennings, David Sills, William Crest and Dominique Maiden — will be in their final game at Mountaineer Field.
“It will be an emotional night. I had the bulk of these guys for three years now. Being a young coach, the question is, can you get guys to buy in to what you believe in? They did, and they rose to the occasion,” Carrier related. “These guys are special to me. I had the chance to mold them and see them grow from young boys to young men.”
Carrier will try to compartmentalize those feelings during the game, but also has been making sure the rest of his group puts it all on the line for the quartet.
“I’ve been telling everyone else this week, you send those guys off the right way. You give it your all every single play. To me, you live for these moments. This is your time to show everybody what you are capable of doing.”