Share This Page
WVU

Surging Longhorns invade WVU for 1st time

| Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — They are seemingly headed in opposite directions, but Texas and West Virginia have reached a point where their first meeting in Morgantown carries huge meaning.

WVU enters the game off its first road victory of the year, at TCU, putting it back in contention to qualify for a bowl.

But this matchup is even more crucial for the Longhorns, who have shaken off a 1-2 start to win five straight Big 12 games, leaving them tied for the league lead at 5-0.

Texas closes against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor, and those three games could determine coach Mack Brown's fate, as new athletic director Steve Patterson will have to make a decision whether to keep the veteran coach.

Texas never has beaten WVU, losing its only two meetings, including 48-45 last year in Austin.

Texas' problems early this season were on defense, forcing Brown to bring in veteran defensive coordinator Greg Robinson.

“They have simplified things,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Before, they would try different things on third down by getting into different fronts. It comes down to getting off blocks, holding your gaps, playing with effort, being physical and making tackles.

“They have gotten better in all those things.”

They did it by relying on superior athletes rather than by trying to fool opponents.

“The scheme has not changed much,” Holgorsen said.

Added WVU quarterback Clint Trickett: “They made a defensive coaching change. Since then, they are pretty basic. They are pretty much playing man coverage all the time, which is pretty smart because they have some pretty good cover guys.

“As a whole, these guys match up pretty well. They are highly recruited, highly talented guys.”

What has changed is WVU's offensive approach. With Trickett having won the quarterback spot after transferring from Florida State — but not yet having grasped the extent of Holgorsen's offense — WVU has had to limit what he does.

That has led the Mountaineers to run the ball more, which has put versatile running back Charles Sims into the key role. Sims is WVU's leading rusher, beginning to push toward a 1,000-yard season, and the second-leading receiver, one shy of the team lead.

The running attack was solid against TCU and seems to be the direction WVU is headed in, especially since Texas ranks third in pass defense in the Big 12.

Bob Hertzel is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.