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WVU faces similar schemes in second game

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By Josh Sickles
Friday, Sept. 9, 2011
 

MORGANTOWN, W.VA. — West Virginia may not have to view much film this week to figure out its opponent.

The Mountaineers could look at themselves and learn a lot about who they'll play.

Norfolk State, their opponent this Saturday, runs almost the exact same defense and a similar offense to West Virginia, and the Mountaineers hope to use that familiarity to their advantage.

Norfolk State defensive coordinator Mark DeBastiani was a three-year letterman at center for Shepherd (W.Va.) when WVU defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel coached there. DeBastiani then joined the Shepherd staff during the 1993 and '94 seasons, coaching the offensive and defensive lines.

DeBastiani has used the same 3-3-5 stack that the Mountaineers have run effectively over Casteel's past eight years.

"They may come out and do something completely different, which most teams do, but it shouldn't be a problem figuring out what they're going to do based on the familiarity we have with our own defense," WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said.

Norfolk State has had success defensively, ranking sixth in the nation among Division I-FCS schools the past two seasons.

Norfolk State started this season allowing just 161 yards and eight first downs against Virginia State. The defense also showed an ability to attack, with two sacks and a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown.

"There's not many defenses that run the same kind of defense we do," WVU receiver Stedman Bailey said. "Being that we've seen it before, we should be able to pick everything up and have a good game offensively."

The teams also have similar offenses.

"They spread it," Holgorsen said. "They do some motion. They run the ball with a motion guy like we do, which should help (Casteel) with it since he's seen us."

Norfolk State has the ability to put up gaudy numbers. Last week, the Spartans racked up 438 yards, and senior quarterback Chris Walley completed 25-of-29 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 42 yards.

The biggest difference in the offenses is that Norfolk State uses more pre-snap motion than the Mountaineers. Still, with one less practice this week, playing against a familiar scheme is a huge advantage for West Virginia.

"You see it in practice all the time, so you're really just playing against your own offense," WVU linebacker Doug Rigg said. "Look at the same keys, and we'll be able to play against this team."

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