Maybe it’s the nature of working for a newspaper that publishes five days a week and not on Saturday and Sunday that makes me take such an obscure view of things. To be relevant on Monday morning, you need to have a take that is fresh out of the oven, but still invites you to take a taste of what is now two days old. So I watch the game from a slightly askew angle, and then I watch it again, and, well, little things pop up that I tend to highlight. I’m weird, I know, but I’m pretty sure I’m right on this one.
What Tavon Austin did in the second quarter Saturday was not a little thing. His coaches and his teammates were impressed and stunned by it.
“What he did was extremely hard,” Smith said. “If you haven’t done it, you don’t know.”
Austin ran 70 yards on a reverse, stayed in the game, ran a stick route on the next snap, caught the pass, fought three defenders for seven yards, stayed in the game, caught a quick screen and then slipped between two defenders for a 6-yard touchdown.
Some players might break along run or catch a deep pass and stay in the game. Many do not, but some will. A lot of those who stay in will take their break and catch their breath on the field. Austin stayed in and had Geno throw at him on the next two plays and both required some work after the catch.
From the moment the whistle blew at the end of the run to the moment Austin scored on the second reception, a mere 52 seconds of real time passed. That’s fast and that’s a pretty significant sign because WVU has been on Austin for a long time now to play faster.
Dana Holgorsen said Austin wouldn’t have been able to do it last year. Shannon Dawson agreed and said the staff wouldn’t have let Austin come out Saturday if he wanted to, though he didn’t want to come out. Geno said he was gassed after his 28-yard touchdown run, so he knew Austin was tired after 70 yards, but Geno also said he never hesitated to go to Tavon on the next play or the one after that.
“The good thing about our practice is the tempo,” Smith said.
“We work on things like that. We work on running a play and getting to the next play or getting a big play and going tempo so the defense never knows what’s coming.”