We get an inside look at West Virginia ahead of tomorrow's big game at TCU
1. West Virginia has seemingly always had good quarterback play and Will Grier is no exception, how is he adapting to the WVU playbook and style?
Grier was touted highly before he ever took a snap at West Virginia and so far it’s hard to say he’s done anything to temper those pre-season expectations. Calm in the pocket, Grier has proven that he can make throws at all levels of the field and is surprisingly effective extending plays and even picking up some yardage with his feet. Grier has a great understanding of the offense and what head coach Dana Holgorsen as well as offensive coordinator Jake Spavital wants him to do with the football. Like most quarterbacks in this scheme, Grier has a lot of freedom at the line of scrimmage and the entire playbook is open for the redshirt junior to exploit.
2. There doesn't seem to be much starting experience on the defensive side of the ball, who have been the best new faces on that side of the field?
Not only has coordinator Tony Gibson been dealing with some new faces after losing eight starters from last year, but the unit has dealt with injuries as well. Six starters were out at times during the Kansas game due to some form of injuries and while most if not all are expected back it showed on the field. While commodities like Kyzir White are well known and redshirt sophomore linebacker David Long is expected to make his season debut, some of the newcomers that have impressed include a true freshman at nose guard in Lamonte McDougle as well as redshirt freshman linebacker Dylan Tonkery. There are questions though and this unit will be tested against the balanced TCU attack.
3. WVU is among the nation's leaders in offense, what does TCU need to do to slow them down?
West Virginia’s offensive line has been very good through four games and quarterback Will Grier hasn’t seen a lot of pressure and when he has he’s been able to avoid it. Being able to try to generate some pressure could make things more difficult for the Mountaineers, but it will be key for the Horned Frogs to keep West Virginia from being balanced. The play calling has almost been a 50-50 split and it has made it hard for opposing defenses, even one like Virginia Tech’s, to stop the Mountaineers. If the Horned Frogs can stop the run game and make the Mountaineers get behind the chains that aforementioned pressure could be big in regards to slowing an offense that ranks second nationally.
4. Dana Holgorsen's offensive mind vs Gary Patterson's defensive mind is a great game of chess to watch. What is the on-field match up you're looking forward to seeing?
West Virginia’s wide receivers have been very good so far, some of that can be attributed to Grier, but the unit has absolutely shown it can hold its own. With the way TCU matches routes and reads in the secondary it will be very interesting to see the chess match between the Horned Frogs and when the Mountaineers put the ball in the air. Technique will be key for the wide receivers, while Grier will have to be accurate making it a fun matchup to watch. It will be interesting to see how much the Mountaineers change what they have done and if they can attack when the Frogs switch.
5. These games were close the first three meetings in the Big 12, but the last two have been blow outs by the home team's, how do you see this year's game playing out?
I think this is going to be a close game. TCU is a very good football team and it’s an interesting battle of the strength of West Virginia on offense, going against the strength of TCU on the defensive side. The Mountaineers haven’t been stopped yet on that side but this will be the most difficult challenge to date. I do think that West Virginia will score but ultimately the game is going to come down to what happens on the other side. Will a revitalized West Virginia defense which gets back a lot of injured players be able to slow down the TCU balanced attack? If they don’t it will be hard for the Mountaineers to win. If they can, much stranger things have happened.