In the Big 12 Conference opener, the Mountaineer faithful got to see a strong performance through the air between Will Grier and David Sills V. Defensively, WVU caused ten tackles for loss while David Long put together another strong performance featuring nine defensive stops, two sacks and three tackles for loss. In the third week’s addition of “From the Film Room,” we will highlight some of these key plays that led the Old Gold and Blue to victory this past Saturday.
Below, Grier exhibits maturity and patience as he waits to deliver to his third receiver option. He uses his legs to get outside of the pocket, avoid pressure and give time for a receiver to become open. David Sills V showcases both his experience and awareness on this play as well. Initially covered, he runs a crossing route. Instead of stopping, Sills recognizes the zone coverage, expertly finds a gap between the zones and stops at the first down marker. This gave Grier an easy target to complete the first down.
In the three clips below, you will see the three touchdowns David Sills V caught on Saturday. WVU Offensive Coordinator, Jake Spavital, in an effort to get single coverage in the red zone, aligned Sills out wide by himself. The young coach’s strategy worked, as Kansas State decided to leave their corner without any help to cover the Preseason All-American. This continued on ALL three plays. Grier was able to easily identify the single man coverage as well as throw three very skillful passes, including two slant routes and a back corner fade.
David Sills V will likely see more double coverage as the season progresses. Defenses will most likely slide a safety over to help with coverage when he is singled out in the red zone. This safety will cover behind and inside of Sills, allowing the corner to aggressively cover in front and prevent easy completions.
David Long, (circled in blue) lined up across from the offensive tackle at the bottom of the screen, makes another spectacular play for WVU. Stopping the Wildcats here on third down was critical following an early turnover in the first quarter. Long beats Dalton Risner, a two-time, first team, All Big 12 selection and Preseason All-American. Risner, standing at 6’5″ and 300 pounds was no match for the agility of Long. The Junior linebacker has quickly gathered 31 tackles, five and a half tackles for loss and two sacks in just three games.
Late in the second quarter, the Mountaineers came up with a critical defense stop. They denied the Wildcats on three short yardage plays and turned the momentum of the game towards West Virginia. Kansas State decided to gamble and went for it on 4th down. The Wildcats went with an outside toss play; Coach Gibson’s squad was ready for it. JoVanni Stewart forced the quarterback to pitch to the running back, who was quickly gobbled up by Dylan Tonkery and Kenny Robinson. The textbook execution by the Mountaineers gave their offense the ball in Kansas State territory, which led to a quick touchdown.
The domination of Kansas State on Saturday exhibited strong defense and powerful offense. While the Mountaineers have climbed to twelfth in the AP National Poll, they have to be careful to not repeat history. In 2012 Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey had their offense clicking on all cylinders as they headed to Lubbock ranked fifth in the nation. Sadly, the Red Raiders got the best of West Virginia that day. They derailed the Mountaineers’ season with a 49-14 loss and started a five game losing streak for WVU. Head Coach, Dana Holgorsen, and his offense will be looking to keep things on track as they face-off against Kliff Kingsbury’s Red Raiders this Saturday.