We made it to Friday! Not only do we get to enjoy the last day of the work week (it's actually a day off for me) but we get to talk Sooners and Mountaineers with the fellas over at The Smoking Muskett. We'd like to welcome in MKirchner12 to give us the inside scoop on West Virginia Football.
CCM: This is clearly a different Clint Trickett than the guy West Virginia had in 2013. Tell us in what areas he's improved and matured on the field.
TSM: There's two major things that have led to Clint Trickett's production this season. First, he's been in the system. He showed up in Morgantown at the beginning of fall camp last year, and while it doesn't take long to install Holgo's offense, it takes a while to really understand the nuances of the system. He's been sitting in with coaches meetings and truly understands it on a level that, in my opinion, is equal to the level Geno Smith understood it in his senior season.
The second thing is pretty simple: he's healthy. He played all of last season with a dead shoulder that left him in excruciating pain. A very successful offseason surgery has left him pain free and you're seeing the results of it on the field right now.
CCM: Trickett has been sacked a Big XII leading eight times, what do the Mountaineers need to do differently against Oklahoma's powerful defensive front?
TSM: Offensive Line play has been a problem for WVU for a while now, and isn't a Dana Holgorsen-era exclusive problem. Head-to-Head, I'm not sure that there's much that our guys can really do, so we're really going to have to scheme around that. The offense is predicated on short, quick passes, screens, and draws that will keep the defense honest and punish them for over-pursuit.
CCM: Tell us how the loss of cornerback Daryl Worley affects the defensive scheme and what concerns it brings up on that side of the ball.
TSM: The Daryl Worley situation is pretty awful, and he needs to be away from the program (probably for good, if recent reports are true). That being said, Holgo has taken a "next man up" approach to this situation. Terrell Chestnut has been a solid player thus far, and we'll be getting Ishmael Banks back for this one, which is a huge boost for the secondary. A name to look out for is JUCO transfer Jaylon Myers, who came in with a lot of hype and has supposedly been getting better in Tony Gibson's 3-3-5. I suspect he's going to get a lot of play on Saturday night.
CCM: Are you more concerned about Oklahoma's rushing attack or their passing game? Why?
TSM: As weird as this probably sounds, considering how bad our secondary has been the past two seasons, I worry about the ground game of the Sooners a little bit more. I worry about us not having the beef up front to stop Oklahoma from running right at us and keeping the ball away from Trickett and our offense. Even without Keith Ford, the Sooners are a force to be reckoned with on the ground. Adding Trevor Knight and WVU's struggles against mobile QBs so far this season makes me very worried about stopping Oklahoma's running game.
CCM: Finish this sentence - When it comes to coaching football, Dana Holgorsen is...
TSM: A golden god.
Kidding aside, he's someone who I think is coming into his own. He was thrown into a bad depth situation after the Bill Stewart era and has spent the last couple of years building that back up. We did not have Big 12 depth in 2012 and (definitely) 2013 and it showed. This season we're finally playing with a full roster of scholarships and I think our depth has made a huge difference in the on field product. Add to that a stellar upcoming recruiting class and William Crest waiting in the wings to take over for Trickett in Holgo's offense, and I'm all in with Holgo as WVU's head coach for the long haul.
CCM: Prediction time: Putting you on the spot here. Tell us how you see this game shaking out on Saturday night.
TSM: As much as I'd like to say that we're going to roll over the Sooners, I think this game shakes out similar to the Alabama game. WVU makes some big plays and stays in it, and the atmosphere at Mountaineer Field will be electric all night. However, I think that the Sooners are going to have too much firepower at the end of the day. It's close throughout, but OU probably ends up winning by a touchdown or so.
You can read my responses to The Smoking Musket's questions right here.