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Know Your Enemy: West Virginia

We went to our friends at Smoking Musket to get the 4-1-1 on this Mountaineers team.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 12 Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In an effort to get Oklahoma State fans prepped for Saturday’s game against West Virginia , Cowboys Ride For Free teamed up with Matt Kirchner of SB Nation’s Smoking Musket.


1. With OSU keeping who is going to be behind center under wraps, what do you expect to see from WVU’S defense on Saturday based on who OSU plays?

MK: I don’t know if what West Virginia will do will change dramatically this week depending on who’s playing QB for OSU. Obviously, there’s going to be a threat of QB runs and a need to play more contain if Sanders is under center, but I think that even if he plays, he’s likely to be limited to an extent in terms of mobility.

Also, I can’t even say for certain what style of defense West Virginia *wants* to play this year given the upheaval at DC, a basically non-existent offseason, and a very vanilla game one against Eastern Kentucky where they didn’t have to show any cards.

2. What WVU stat should OSU fans be playing close attention to Saturday?

Rushing yards, I think. West Virginia had a historically awful running team last season, and Neal Brown’s focus in what time he’s had with the team was to fix it. In week one, it seemed to work as the first play from scrimmage was a longer run than the Mountaineers had all of last season. But, again, Eastern Kentucky.

If WVU is able to consistently get its RBs, Leddie Brown and Alec Sinkfield, going it’ll open up the play-action for Jarret Doege to get to work downfield.

3. Who are your players to watch on either side of the ball for the Mountaineers?

On offense, I came out extremely impressed with Doege. The QB is an obvious answer here, but the change in this team from the moment he took over from Austin Kendall was night and day. His PFF metrics make him analytics darling, and you can really tell that the team responds to his leadership.

On defense, again, easy answer. It’s the Stills brothers at defensive tackle. They may be the best interior line duo in the Big 12 and obviously work flawlessly together. If West Virginia is to pull off this win Saturday, they’re going to have a big hand in doing it.

4. What on either side of the ball worries you most about this WVU team most.

It’s the offensive line, easily. Like I said, West Virginia’s 2019 offense was historically bad and the fact that Neal Brown was able to almost drag them to .500 is a testament to his wizardry. They played an outstanding game against EKU, but again, Eastern Kentucky. I can’t stress enough that they may have been the worst team West Virginia has ever played. This is a big test for them to prove that the unit has made a huge step forward from last year’s disaster.

5. In Neal Brown’s second year, what do you think he’s learned/improved upon?

He’s truly a wizard. The guy just gets it from a program-building standpoint in terms of player (past and present) relations and what kind of infrastructure a program needs to win big.

In terms of on the field product, his team are ready to play and generally won’t beat themselves with mental mistakes. We saw a lot of Big 12 teams struggle out of the gate against lesser opponents, likely due to the weirdness of camp, but West Virginia wasn’t among them. If you say that teams take on the personalities of their coaches mentally, you couldn’t see two more opposite approaches than Holgo and Neal. He really hasn’t made a mis-step yet, and West Virginia needs to be prepared to do the work to keep him in Morgantown.

6. Prediction?

I’ve talked myself into a West Virginia win, mostly on the back of their defensive line vs a struggling OSU offensive line. It’s tough, but the lessened homefield advantage should work to WVU’s favor as well. Something along the lines of 27-24, Mountaineers.

7. Same question you asked me lol:

The Pokemon DLC has been great for team building, and there will be a second coming out later this fall. Right now, I think I’m rocking a Ferrothorn, Alakazam, Alolan Exeggutor, Scizor, Alolan Marowak, and Galarian Darmanitan.

I had a Togekiss, but they banned them from online play recently because their strategy just involves making people not able to attack and tbh it’s cheap as hell.

In non-Pokemon news, the new Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 Remake is amazing and a great nostalgia bomb, also Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2 are now on the Switch SNES virtual console.