Holgorsens Take: Big 12 Teleconference
Two years ago when West Virginia hosted Baylor it was an offensive showcase with the Mountaineers defeating the Bears 70-63, but that was then and this is now and both teams are better defensively, head coach Dana Holgorsen said.
This season No. 4 Baylor ranks at the top of the conference in defense in large part because of improved depth and better athletes on that side of the ball, while with West Virginia the Mountaineers played roughly a dozen freshmen against the Bears in that game that are now juniors.
Still the bread and butter of Baylor is with their offense and the goal will be to run the football to suck the defense up and then attempt to throw it over the top with what the West Virginia head man refers to as one of the deepest wide receiver groups he's ever seen.
It will arguably be the biggest challenge for the Mountaineers defense to date, but Holgorsen is confident his team will be prepared.
"We've got to do our best in stopping the run and when they take shots we have to cover," he said.
Just looking at the Baylor offense on the surface, quarterback Bryce Petty returns and continues to show strong command of the offense while Baylor has more weapons at the other skill positions than in the past.
"Our defense is designed for this, equipped for this," Holgorsen said. "Whether we can hold up time will tell but we're in a good spot."
West Virginia is coming off a 17-point fourth quarter comeback win over Texas Tech this past Saturday and Holgorsen believes that his team is confident entering the weekend. One of the main goals over the course of the year has been to finish and the way the Mountaineers responded in their 37-34 win embodies what the coaching staff had been looking for.
With four wins, West Virginia already has matched their win total from a season ago and has shown resilience through the first six games falling to only Alabama and Oklahoma.
Holgorsen confirmed that defensive lineman Christian Brown was suspended for the Texas Tech game for violation of team rules but the head mean expects him to return very quick. Senior defensive lineman Dontrill Hyman continues to recover from a knee injury but Holgorsen said that he "should probably be ready to go this week."
Sophomore Darrien Howard filled in on the defensive line against Texas Tech and did a good job while he was in the game, he will continue to receive reps moving forward. Holgorsen also pointed out the play of senior defensive end Shaquille Riddick saying that he had his best game as a Mountaineer.
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