Chalkboard: Urgent WVU Problems Can Be Overcome | University sport


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Urgent West Virginia issues are certainly an item to watch in this week’s game, but the Mountaineers’ ability to slow down Virginia Tech’s ground game could be the way WVU can keep up. the pace of the Hokies if their own ground attacking continues to crackle.

Tech amassed 343 yards in his first two games, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. He didn’t depend on the big play (his longest run was 33 yards and he only has two points of 20 or more) but he continuously shifted the chains, converting an excellent 50% of his chances of third try. while limiting opponents to just 34.6% (9-26).

Watch out for Tech to try and take advantage of West Virginia’s upstream aggression with a few trap plays, as well as a backhand or two trying to catch the Mountaineers chasing too much. Of course, they’ll have watched the success of the screen passes against WVU as well, and believe they have some of them – along with their partner, the draw – in the plan of attack.

West Virginia will need to keep Tech at a near 35% third base success rate in order to produce a possession odds counterbalance, and that will be a difficult task. Success on the first try, as always, will be a critical thing to follow.

Tech’s 938 sacks and 410 interceptions since 1996 are the two best among FBS schools.

The availability of tight ends could play a bigger role than normal in this game, at least from a historical perspective. In the ’80s and’ 90s (yes, I know I’m talking about ancient history here for some of you) tight ends were an extension of the offensive line. Of course there were exceptions like Mark Raugh, Anthony Becht and Lovett Purnell who were part of the passing game, but most of the time they were blockers.

The 2021 game turned out a little different with Virginia Tech’s James Mitchell – a sure-fire professional prospect according to WVU head coach Neal Brown – and the Mountaineers’ Mike O’Laughlin expected to match skills against opposing defenses. That was called off, at least on the Hokies side, with the news that Mitchell will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Tech will use Drake DeIuliis and Nick Gallo saves in an attempt to fill the void.

O’Laughlin is moving in the opposite direction and has been training this week. Could he be ready enough to fill the role in the passing game WVU had planned for him in the spring? And if so, what effect will this have on the problematic WVU crash?

This could be one of the hidden keys to the game.

Brown had a great time talking about the history of the rivalry with Virginia Tech at his press conference on Tuesday, and some of the gathered media ate more than the angle. One must think, however, that it was a bit of a smokescreen.

By replaying the story of the rivalry, has Brown taken the focus away from the discussion of the West Virginia racing game woes, which have haunted WVU since his arrival? After all, coaches and players regularly say that after the first blow is struck, much of the pre-game buildup is gone.

That’s perfectly understandable, as there’s probably not much he and the coaches can do at this point other than keep training and working on technique and teamwork. Also, as he hinted, being more physical had to be a big deal during padded workouts this week, and there’s no doubt that it will be necessary against technical defense.


Each week, we’ll be providing Health Precautions Notes and Tips, Travel Tips, and more for the upcoming game in this space.

There are certainly mixed messages from WVU about the masking this week. A renewed mandate for masks has been in place indoors in all buildings and facilities of the WVU system until October 6, but this does not include the interior areas of the Milan Puskar stadium. From the WVU Return To Campus site:

Because this is primarily an outdoor event, the University’s indoor mask requirement does not include areas of the Milan Puskar stadium (i.e. restrooms, suites, the press gallery) for the moment. However, the University continues to strongly encourage the wearing of masks in the hall of traditions, suites, toilets or other interior spaces of the stadium.

With the early noon kick-off, a reminder is offered that traffic will be squeezed into a much shorter arrival time, as opposed to the 5pm start of last week which allowed for more spread out travel routes. With sold-out gambling, traffic should be an issue, so go early and allow plenty of time to get to the game.

Additionally, fans are reminded that there is no shuttle service between the WVU Coliseum and Milan Puskar Stadium this year, due to staff and equipment shortages caused by the pandemic.

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Virginia Tech’s trip to WVU will be her only game away from Lane Stadium in her first seven games this year. The Hokies will then end the year with four of their last five regular season road games.

Leddie Brown of West Virginia is second nationally in touchdowns scored with five. Four of them came to the ground, on rushes of one, two, two and nine yards.

WVU head coach Neal Brown may have dropped some clues as to how he could use quarterback Garrett Greene in the near future, as he referred to his story at Troy in his comments earlier this week.

In 2018, he used both Sawyer Smith and Kaleb Barker in this role until Barker fell with a knee injury in early October. Brown, who uses the word “intentional” definitively to indicate that plans are usually made with forethought, noted that his uses of two QBs in Troy fell into this category, and a reading of his words gives the impression that the same thing could apply to Greene on Saturday.

His insertion into the game against LIU came at a predetermined time, and it could have been a dress rehearsal of how he could use it against Virginia Tech, or at other times on the road.

WVU offensive lineman Doug Nester, who transferred from Virginia Tech after last season, has not been available for interviews. Teammate Josh Chandler-Semedo was asked if Nester was helping his new team with information about the Hokies, and produced a veteran press conference response.

“He’s getting ready for the game,” Chandler-Semedo said, with a hint of a smile on his face.

Nester was made available for questions once during fall camp, and he allowed the Tech game to be circled on his schedule.

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