Ever get a song stuck in your head and you just can’t get it out until you get another song in your head? I think this explains what happened to Joe DeForest Saturday night and I think he called a great defense in the postgame media menagerie.
He was again pinned up against a wall and again taking all the questions, but he broke stride when the doors on the opposite side of the room flung open to accommodate a visitor. DeForest stopped what he was saying and doing and then said the following:
Pat Miller is a huge reason why we won this game.
And right there, as Miller strode in and took a seat in a corner by himself, the conversations and the stories about Pat Miller changed. DeForest knew everyone had a song stuck in their heads and he gave them a new song.
Miller wasn’t especially great against Texas. He had some bad plays and bad moments and bad help, but when there was no question who the coaches, players and fans of both teams would be looking at, Miller won.
People remember what they want to remember and on that night, they want to remember he broke up a pass on a fourth down — never mention the significance was at least diminished when Geno lost his second fumble two plays later.
But three plays after that, there was Miller pouncing on David Ash when the third-down, shotgun snap zoomed past his helmet. That forced a field goal try that sailed wide and to the right.
Two plays, in two big spots, went to Miller and the game again went to the Mountaineers.
Miller is a smart kid and he had not allowed the quality of his play to go unnoticed. He was burdened between the Baylor and Texas games, when he was asked to watch highlights of the 2011 season, as complied by Daron Roberts, so he would remember the hood times, but he was buoyed by what happened Saturday night.
Yet, literally, things weren’t half as bad as last week and Miller at least succeeded where he and others failed last week. When the ball was in the air on his key play, he managed to do something about it. WVU’s cornerbacks have often had to chase and tackle opponents who would catch passes alone in space.
“Sometimes we’ll be in a cover 3 where we’re covering the deep third of the field, so we have to play with depth,” he said. “It’s not like we’re in man coverage every time. If we played man, we wouldn’t be off that far in coverage. If you’re out there in man coverage all day, then we can step up and make plays and make them work off the line. If we play cover 3 coverage, everyone’s got his assignment to do and our job is to play that back third.”
If Miller sounds attuned to the criticisms thrown his way, it’s because he is.
“He knows what everyone on ESPN said about the defense being suspect and the cornerbacks being horrible,” receiver Stedman Bailey said.