The NCAA stats rank Virginia Tech’s run protection at No. 3 among the many 131 FBS groups. The Professional Soccer Focus grade for the cross rush is the third-highest within the nation. The house staff at Lane Stadium tonight harasses quarterbacks and stonewalls working backs. It is as much as West Virginia’s offensive line to stop the same destiny.
“Since I have been right here, I believe I’ve in all probability stated that is going to need to be the guts of this staff and particularly this offense,” offensive coordinator Graham Harrell stated. “There’s simply a lot expertise there. They work actually arduous. I believe the entire staff sort of appears to these guys. We have made some extent, at the very least since I have been right here, that room goes to need to sort of carry this staff. I really feel like they’ll carry the offense, and so they’ve performed an ideal job.”
This is not the perfect opponent the Mountaineers have confronted in head coach Neal Brown’s 4 seasons. Time will inform for positive, but it surely’s in all probability additionally not the perfect protection. The Hokies are good in Brent Pry’s first season as the top coach, and the previous Penn State defensive coordinator entrusted his protection to Chris Marvel, an all-SEC linebacker at Vanderbilt when Pry was a co-defensive coordinator there. The success cannot be sudden. It is why athletic director Whit Babcock, the previous WVU assistant athletic director, employed Pry from the Nittany Lions after the offensively inclined stylings of Justin Fountain failed.
However the Mountaineers employed Harrell to invigorate the offense, and that adopted a previous determination designed to provide Brown’s program an eventual identification. He referred to as the development of the offensive line “sort of a four-year course of,” but it surely took a flip two years in the past, and it supposed to arrange the Mountaineers for video games like this one.
“Our numbers had been low, and we had only a few guys who’ve actually performed, so in ’20 we got here again from the COVID 12 months and made the choice to go younger,” Brown stated.
Brandon Yachts was a redshirt freshman enjoying left sort out. James Gmiter was a redshirt freshman who was a defensive lineman when he arrived on campus. Gmiter was enjoying left guard till he caught COVID and misplaced his spot to Zach Frazierthe present middle who was a real freshman tasked with enjoying Gmiter’s spot.
“They had been all fairly younger gamers, however they performed and made a very good little bit of progress,” Brown stated. “They nonetheless struggled at instances, and in ’21 we added a few different items.”
Doug Nester he returned to his dwelling state when he transferred from Virginia Tech, after which the Mountaineers had one among their most vital recruiting wins in fairly a while once they satisfied Wyatt Milum to remain within the state and signal with WVU. The road had a returning left sort out, left guard and middle and plugged Nester in at proper guard and finally put in Milum at proper sort out.
They stored recruiting and growing, and that is paid off partly this season. Milum is now the left sort out whereas redshirt freshman Jordan White was the beginning proper guard and Nester the beginning proper sort out within the opener. White was injured in opposition to Pitt, so Nester slide again inside and former Virginia lineman Ja’Quay Hubbard turned the beginning proper sort out whereas Yates crammed in when wanted.
WVU’s offense is nice once more, and the offensive line has performed its half. There have been seven moments in opposition to Pitt, however WVU had successful moments, too, and ran for extra yards in opposition to the Panthers than the earlier 36 opponents had. The loss to Kansas wasn’t concerning the offense, and although not good, the issues for the offense weren’t solely the offensive line’s. WVU allowed neither a sack nor a detrimental play on 40 cross performs and 78 snaps. Keep in mind, too, that WVU has practiced with totally different combos within the occasion of harm or poor play and so they’ve had lower than three quarters at full energy.
However right here come the Hokies, who permit 42 dashing yards per recreation and 1.52 yards per carry and have not given up greater than 14 yards on a rush on 83 makes an attempt this season.
“They’ll put an emphasis on stopping the run, and so they play actually arduous and have the personnel and so they do a extremely good job understanding the way you’re making an attempt to assault them after which placing their guys in place to make a sort out ,” Harrell stated. “They simply play arduous, and that is one factor I’ve talked to our guys about. I believe we have performed just a few groups which have actually performed arduous on protection, however that is bought to be our calling card, too, and once they activate the tape, they higher say that we play simply as arduous as anybody they’re enjoying in opposition to, and in order that’ll be necessary for us.
“They’ve performed a heck of a job on protection all 12 months in opposition to the run and the cross — if you happen to take a look at it statistically, they’re one of many prime defenses within the nation in all kinds of issues, and numerous it simply how arduous they play. We’ll need to match that. I believe our offensive line has performed a heck of a job up to now up thus far, and they are going to need to play very well this week for you’ve got an opportunity to maneuver the soccer.”