The Longhorns graduate and Texas native returns to the scene of his prime Saturday in a most unusual spot.
Damn near everyone who is invested in West Virginia’s eighth-ranked football team is at least attuned to the cornerback play before the game against No. 11 Texas. Roberts coaches the cornerback and he knows things have to get better or they will get worse. “I told our guys that offensive coordinators are not going to stop passing the ball because they don’t want to hurt your feelings,” Roberts told me.
Amid all the ideas and suggestions and possibilities being floated around this week, that is the truth.
That is football.
The last time I really remember this being as sincere an issue was all the way back in 2009. WVU had Keith Tandy and Brandon Hogan at corner and they had a hard time keeping plays in front of them. The Mountaineers went to South Florida and … well, you remember that. There was a coach throwing a player under the bus by saying USF’s receiver was better than WVU’s cornerback — as if the sight of the receiver continually getting past the corner didn’t speak loudly enough.
Then there was USF offensive coordinator Mike Canales plainly stating afterward that he’d studied 2008 and 2009 film and that he decided to pick on the cornerbacks because big plays were “a trend.” And not only that, but it made no sense to run the ball against WVU. Not with a very good run defense and not with very average cornerbacks.
Well, WVU’s run defense is again good and the cornerbacks could again be bette and I refuse to believe Pat Miller wasn’t affected by a cumulative affect in the third and fourth quarters against Terrance Williams. He looked frustrated and spent by the experience and that cannot be good for a player of a defense — and it shows up on film.
I don’t need to continue to tell you where this is going. This, and not some flattering feature on the NBC sports channel, is Daron Roberts’ time to shine. If the theme this week is to put Baylor in the past and start over, it is at least apropos he goes back to where it all began.
He wants to win, of course, and he wants to be good again at Texas. It is the home of his first triumphs, where 24 hour gyms and flat-rate tuition are Pat Miller and Brodrick Jenkins.