That was weird, right?
It sort of gave you the impression that opponents or officials or both are targeting WVU. Let’s not kid ourselves here: The Mountaineers’ safeties hit hard. Darwin Cook and Karl Joseph and of late K.J. Dillon try to hit hard. They run up to plays and throw themselves into the action. The leave their feet and, well, launch their bodies at an opponent. They make tackles and leave reminders. The cornerbacks have done some of the same things. Travis Bell and Ishmael Banks are physical guys who play with and on an edge. And Cook, Bell and Banks have been penalized for personal fouls this season, though only Cook has been accused of targeting, and that, of course, was overturned.
This is not to say they’re dirty — they’re not — or that they’re to be deterred — they won’t — but there is an implication and there are ramifications. And here I am, on the eve of a game against Texas Tech and one Jace Amaro who (legally) WVU knocked out of last year’s game and the remainder of that season, wondering if WVU believes people are looking out for where and how they hit.
“No doubt in my mind that’s the case,” WVU safeties coach Tony Gibson said. “Look at the Oklahoma State game. It came down to crunch time and No. 81 (Jhajuan Seales) came across the middle and Cook broke on the ball and basically knocked the kid out on the field. They had to stop the game.
“All of that Baylor sees that on film, I’m sure. I don’t know if they say, ‘Hey, watch this,’ to the officials. It’s just like us as coaches. If we see a team holding or if we see something going on, we alert the officials to it. I think with our kids being big hitters, they’ve gotten that reputation and I’m sure that’s being put into the ear of the officials.”