The Mountaineers have touched down in Dallas, Texas days ahead of the team’s appearance in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl versus the Utah Utes on December 26. Coaches Tony Gibson and Jake Spavital addressed the media from Dallas Friday afternoon, showcasing the team’s preparations for next week’s season finale game.
Associate head coach and defensive coordinator Tony Gibson spoke about the defense’s goals for the game, and what they may need to do in order to meet said goal.
“Right now, just fine-tuning the game plan. That is our biggest key right now, is just to get these guys going,” Gibson said. “Full-speed reps, make it short, sweet and just make sure we are all on the same page.”
The defensive coordinator was also asked if he preps his players on players they are expecting to see throughout the game, as it is known that Utah roles with a dual-quarterback offense.
“(Tyler) Huntley is more of a runner; (Troy) Williams is more of a thrower. We will do a good mixture the next couple of days,” Gibson remarked. “We are rolling right now with (Tyler) Huntley is going to be the guy. That’s our mindset, we will see when the ball kicks.”
Assistant coach and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital also addressed the media prior to his first bowl game back in the Old Gold and Blue. Coach Spavital spoke about bowl game preparations and the game plan that he has put into practice for his offense.
“We got all of our work in; it was a good mock week of having everything pretty much put in before we got on the plane. These next few practices are going to be just polishing up and making sure of the continuity and the timing is going to be fine with everybody else,” Spavital said. “They are actually pretty excited. Once they pulled up to this facility they got a little more energy to practice, which I am fired up for them having a little more excitement playing in a place like this.”
Coach Spavital seemed to be in the final stages of preparation for the offense, point out that the team’s majority of game plan work had been completed prior to the arrival in Texas.
“There are still some discussions to be had, we are going to be throwing more looks at the guys because they are a multiple front. They will be moving in and out of three down fronts to bear to four down fronts to over-unders, all sorts of things up front. There will be some good conversations with some of these plays just to make sure we are all on the same page and that we are going to execute these plays in a certain look,” Spavital remarked. “Mainly, it is just to get acclimated, get running around and make sure that we have the right mindset. The game plan, the scheme is in, it is more of a mentality of this point moving forward.”
There are barely four days left before the Mountaineers take on their final game of the season, and it seems that the coaching helms of the offense and defense are in their final stages of prep work. With just shy of a month to prepare for the final game of the season, both coaches have made adjustments and modifications that will hopefully set the team up for one more round of “Country Roads” this year.