The Oklahoma Sooners are set to close the regular season on a cold November evening in Morgantown, and here to tell us about the West Virginia Mountaineers in Matt Kirchner of The Smoking Musket — SB Nation’s West Virginia site. We discuss Will Grier, things to do in Morgantown, famous WVU alumni and more!
Will Grier has been setting Big 12 defenses ablaze for the past two seasons and has put up some incredible numbers. Having said that, is there anything that makes him tick? Is there anything in particular that gives him trouble?
He’s got a Favre-ian streak with all the good and bad that comes with it. His greatest strength is that he believes that he can make every throw and his greatest weakness is, well, that he believes he can make every throw. He can definitely force the issue at times.
Grier has also had some help during his time in Morgantown, namely in the form of David Sills. Other than the aforementioned former 13-year-old USC QB commit (that still amazes me), who are some of Grier’s most notable targets?
The names you’ll hear the most outside of DSV are Gary Jennings and Marcus Simms. Jennings is an extremely strong route runner who reminds me a lot of Jarvis Landry. Simms has the speed to take the top off of any defense and has greatly improved his route running.
Of the backs at WVU’s disposal, who is the most likely to:
● Break a big one? Kennedy McKoy
● Drag an OU defender for several yards? Martell Pettaway, who hasn’t been tackled at first contact for a month or so. Naturally, he’s not in Jake Spavital’s short yardage packages.
● Make an impact in the passing game? This will be McKoy again, but all are used.
West Virginia ranks 65th nationally in defensive S&P+ (which obviously isn’t great), but this unit has shown flashes throughout the season. What has been the group’s most noticeable area of weakness, and what has been the biggest strength?
In terms of weaknesses, they’ve struggled with larger receivers like Hakeem Butler, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and Collin Johnson. West Virginia has also not covered a tight end in roughly 20 years.
In terms of strengths, they get very good backfield penetration and have been opportunistic with turnover creation. Forcing Murray into an early turnover before he settles in and starts slinging death is key for West Virginia.
Speaking of the defense, which defensive players should Oklahoma fans be aware of heading into Friday’s game?
David Long should win Big 12 DPOY. He is absolutely everything you want in a linebacker and will be all over the field on Friday.
Kenny Bigelow, a former five-star USC transfer, has stayed healthy all year and has been a force.
The Mountaineers haven’t defeated OU since joining the Big 12, but WVU is playing at home and is going against an atrocious OU defense. So… how confident is your fan base heading into this one?
It’s an interesting question. I think if the senior leadership on this team evicts Oklahoma from the rent free apartment in this program’s head, West Virginia can name their score and get this giant win for Holgorsen’s program.
If I see dumb shit in the pregame or after early plays again, my confidence is shot.
Plenty of Oklahoma fans are expected to make the trek up to the mountains this week, so what should those people do in Morgantown? Which bars do you recommend? Where should they eat? Most importantly, where should they tailgate on Friday?
I haven’t been *out* in Morgantown for a while so I can’t speak for the super clubby nightlife if anyone is interested in that.
High Street is where you’ll want to be and Sports Page is a go to spot in terms of Sports Bars. Joe Mama’s for a club atmosphere. I also greatly recommend Morgantown Brewing Company (The Brew Pub) to just chill and have a beer.
A ton of people are going to recommend Kegler’s wings to you, but I think they’re not that great. The Varsity Club right across from the stadium has the best wings in town. Puglioni’s and Oliverio’s provide great homemade Italian, and Mountain State Brewing has great wood fire pizzas.
Tailgating is all centralized by the stadium. The main lot will be the Blue Lot, and people should be more than welcoming.
Downtown Morgantown is pretty. You should all come to here. pic.twitter.com/mebOSoyfhQ— The Grind WV (@TheGrindWV) December 22, 2015
Who would win in a fight – Owen Schmidt or Jevon Carter? Schmidt has the body mass, but Carter is probably the scrappiest college basketball player I’ve seen in at least a decade.
Tough, but Jevon’s lower center of gravity lets him gain an advantage.
Who is your favorite WVU alum outside of athletics?
Don Knotts. Honorable mention to Billy Mays, who technically did not graduate.
Who makes the best pepperoni rolls in Morgantown?
I honestly don’t have an answer for this. I don’t have any in particular that I swear by. Find someone who made their own.
As relative newcomers to this conference, which school and/or fan base are Mountaineer fans beginning to hate the most?
Ok. Cool. Hook em
Do you guys miss playing Pitt, or are both fan bases happier without each other at this point?
As someone married to a Pitt alumna, it has caused me considerable less strife. It’ll be fun to reignite it in football in a few years, but it has definitely mellowed.
How do you see this one playing out? Does West Virginia pull this out? Finally… what’s your score prediction?
I think this game is going to be a special kind of acid trip. Similar to the infamous Tavon Austin 2012 game, but West Virginia is able to make at least one stop when it counts and wins 49-45.