Welcome to the Friday Feedback which … man, this was tremendously tremendous.
We were already friends with and fans of Chris B. Brown. Now I want a Tony Jefferson jersey.
We also had reminders about Bad Twitter this week thanks to the the sort of stuff I’m certain we’ll get into and try to deftly manage here. But going back to the to-and-fro above, wow, what memories from that night. I’ve never seen something like that before, something so electric and so unexpected, and I can’t remember something so great being, ultimately, so unfulfilling. I find it funny how many people I come across who who think WVU won that night. Same thing with the Quincy Wilson run in that one Miami game.
Anyhow, don’t expect something quite like that tomorrow night. Oklahoma’s defense is nothing like what it was that night, when Dana Holgorsen sprung one of the great cat-and-mouse surprises ever. The Sooners are a 3-4/3-3-5 now that gets by on a mean front and uncomfortable coverage in the back, and they made changes due in large part to getting pantsed that one night. There was a cumulative effect, of course, and things had been trending that way, but it reached a crescendo right there. In the past season-plus, Oklahoma’s been as disruptive, as stingy, as good as anyone at defense.
It’s interesting, because one of WVU’s great positives when playing Oklahoma was familiarity. They run, in essence, the same offense. One may differ from the other in certain areas, but how they’ve learned and how they teach the offense is so similar that it’s easy for one to understand and anticipate the differences of the other. And since they are operating the same offenses, they understand how to defend it because they know what they don’t like to see from opposing defenses.
Then the Sooners go off and change what they do on defense, and you wonder, until you say, “Whoa, hey, it’s a 3-3-5!” It is and it isn’t. Eric Striker is that swing guy, like K.J. Dillon is for WVU. They’re not the same player, as Dillon is more safety than linebacker and Striker is more linebacker than safety. Striker makes Oklahoma more of a versatile 3-4 whereas Dillon completes the 3-3-5. And, please, stop me if you’ve heard this, but WVU rolls with the odd stack. Oklahoma is an odd front and with its own preferences for how it plays the gaps and such. It’s different, but, again, the basics are close enough that there’s some value in it as one gets ready for the other.
The major and, I don’t know, overlooked and underpublicized part of this? WVU’s offense is — prepare yourself — better this season than it was in the influential 2012 game. Reason being? Having two outside receivers is more beneficial than having one outside and one slot receiver.
“I think overall we’re probably a better offensive unit than we were then,” WVU offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson said.
Bailey and Austin — with sizable contributions from Geno Smith — made the 2012 offense the best the school has seen. White and Alford do more for this offense because of what they do to the defense. Bailey was an outside receiver and Austin was an inside receiver. White and Alford are both outside receivers.
The difference matters.
“If you ask defensive guys, I think the overall threat level from outside guys is more threatening than from inside guys when those (outside) guys can take it to the house whenever,” Dawson said. “An outside guy being a threat, I think that probably scares a defense a little more than an inside guy, so having two of those guys is a good thing.”
Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted. In other words, copying has consequences.
Kevin White looks like a man among boys on the field. I guess he’s the answer to my where’s the next Dez Bryant/Michael Crabtree complaint. He let a pass to him in the back of the end zone bounce off his hands though.
I am surprised about Alford’s proficiency at catching fade route jump balls, since he doesn’t have the height advantage that White has.
Our defense came up with so many big stops. It’s nice to have a couple decent corners so that you can bring more pressure more often. And when they dropped 7 or 8 into coverage, they still consistently pressured the Md QB with a 3 or 4 man rush. Who is the d lineman coach again? Oh that’s right, Scrap Bradley.
Starting with Scrap, you’re seeing Hyman and Nwachukwu benefit from game reps. I thought they were better at the end of Saturday’s game than they were when it started. As for White, he’s jumping up draft boards, and this is not thought to be an especially strong draft class for receivers. One drop — and it was somewhat defended on the way down — won’t damage him. Alford has underrated body control, too. He can play bigger when he measures his strides, which then expands his catching radius for fades and deep balls.