Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Gibson’s plan worked to perfection

Tony Gibson might have been crazy, but he was not insane.

West Virginia’s defensive coordinator spent last Sunday watching how other teams went about defending what was then the nation’s leader in points and yards per game. He would not do what so many others before him tried with no success and expect a different result.

He’d be different. He’s be aggressive. He’d be physical. He’d be questioned.

“If you watch the film, you’d be scared about what you did see,” he said. “But nobody had ever done that to them the whole game. We were going to keep the pressure on them rather than drop guys back.”

So he met with his coaches that day and explained the plan: Crowd the line of scrimmage, blitz a lot and demand the cornerbacks thrive in one-on-one coverage.

An assistant spoke up, remembering Gibson coaches the linebackers now after coaching the safeties before.

“I can tell you don’t coach the defensive backs anymore,” the voice said.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Gibson’s plan worked to perfection.

Charleston Daily Mail | Chuck McGill: WVU handles adversity in pivotal win

West Virginia’s Wendell Smallwood hesitated on the opening kickoff and made the ill-advised decision to bring the football out of the end zone. He was tackled at the 9-yard line, a 16-yard swing if he would’ve taken a knee for the touchback.

Then, on first down, quarterback Clint Trickett threw into double coverage and severely missed his target, Mario Alford. Rushel Shell was stuffed for a 1-yard gain on the next play. Trickett was sacked and fumbled on third down, giving visiting Baylor — first nationally in points and No. 1 in total offense — the ball on the 7.

It took the Bears one play to score a touchdown, and it seemed then-No. 4 Baylor, an 8-point favorite against the Mountaineers, was off and running again.

“We probably have the worst first drive you can probably have,” West Virginia offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said.

via Charleston Daily Mail | Chuck McGill: WVU handles adversity in pivotal win.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU SOCCER: No. 13 Mountaineer women top No. 9 Kansas

Senior forward Kate Schwindel did what no other opponent has done to No. 9 Kansas all season — scored twice in one game — and the No. 13-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team pushed its unbeaten streak to 12 matches with a 2-0 win over the Jayhawks Sunday at Rock Chalk Park.

Sunday’s win is the Mountaineers’ (11-2-2, 4-0-1) second of the season over a ranked opponent and first over a top-10 foe, giving WVU at least one victory over a top-10 team in each of the last 10 seasons.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU SOCCER: No. 13 Mountaineer women top No. 9 Kansas.

The Charleston Gazette | Defensive gamble paid off vs. Baylor

To say that Tony Gibson and the West Virginia defense gambled Saturday in the way they elected to attack Baylor’s heretofore unstoppable offense would be an understatement.

In essence, they took their life’s savings, put it all on black and let the wheel spin once.

“I wouldn’t want to go back and play them again next week with that same plan, I’ll tell you that,’’ Gibson said. “But that’s why you prepare and play them once a year.’’

That West Virginia won the gamble is obvious. They not only held Baylor to its lowest yardage in four years, the rest of the Mountaineers played well enough on offense and special teams to beat the then-No. 4 Bears, 41-27.

via The Charleston Gazette | Defensive gamble paid off vs. Baylor.

West Virginia Returns to Top 25 – WVU Athletics

West Virginia, coming off yesterday’s 41-27 victory over Baylor, has returned to the top 25 in both college football polls after a two-year hiatus. The Mountaineers are 22nd in the AP poll and 25th in the USA Today coaches’ poll, released earlier today.

West Virginia’s last appearance in the top 25 came two years ago on Oct. 28, 2012 when the Mountaineers were ranked 21st in the coaches’ poll and 23rd in the AP poll.

WVU lost 39-38 to TCU in triple overtime to fall out of the rankings.

via West Virginia Returns to Top 25 – WVU Athletics.

West Virginia Award Winners for the Baylor Game – WVU Athletics

The West Virginia University football coaching staff has named its award winners for outstanding performances in the Mountaineers’ 41-27 win against No. 4 Baylor on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Offensive Champion – Kevin White; Defensive Champion – Shaq Riddick; Special Teams Champion – Josh Lambert; Offensive Scout Champion – Dontae Thomas-Williams; Defensive Scout Champion – Nana Twum Agyire.

via West Virginia Award Winners for the Baylor Game – WVU Athletics.

WV MetroNews – West Virginia enters at No. 22 in AP poll, No. 25 in coaches

West Virginia returned to the AP rankings for the first time since November 2012, entering at No. 22 on Sunday after upsetting previously unbeaten Baylor 41-27.

Winners of three straight, the Mountaineers (5-2, 3-1) were ranked one spot ahead of Marshall (7-0), which dominated Florida International 45-13.

Baylor fell eight spots to No. 12, behind two other Big 12 teams, No. 10 TCU and No. 11 Kansas State.

Oklahoma slipped six spots to No. 17, while Oklahoma State—the team West Virginia faces in Stillwater next Saturday—dropped out of the poll.

via WV MetroNews – West Virginia enters at No. 22 in AP poll, No. 25 in coaches.

WV MetroNews – Gibson’s surprising defense didn’t allow track meet

Inside a curtained-off section of the West Virginia weight room, Bryce Petty leaned against a portable podium and sought to explain how Baylor lost its groove. Those curtains didn’t block out the happy hollering from the home team nearby.

“Losing sucks,” Petty said.

And losing really sucks when a team takes a 73-point roundhouse to the mouth, as West Virginia infamously absorbed in Waco last year. The scar tissue from that game remained quite prominent this week leading up the Mountaineers taking their payback, 41-27, on Saturday.

via WV MetroNews – Gibson’s surprising defense didn’t allow track meet.

Charleston Daily Mail | Mike Casazza: Depth not an issue for WVU men

Two things about this West Virginia basketball team are hard to ignore and important to highlight.

First is the roster. For the past two seasons, Bob Huggins spoke continually and correctly about how hard it is to coach the game, never mind coach his game, with first-year players who are new to the Division I level.

That’s not groundbreaking, but that was never his point. Coaches can survive and succeed with a few first-year players, and talent makes everything come easier. Huggins was dealing with a lot of first-year players and they were not all the talented types who make things come easier.

These Mountaineers have two players who sat out last season, two freshmen and three junior college transfers. That’s seven first-year players. Huggins will have 12 players at his disposal with it looking more likely now that senior forward Kevin Noreen’s various surgeries that will keep him out until January will also keep him from being much of a factor at all.

via Charleston Daily Mail | Mike Casazza: Depth not an issue for WVU men.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Defensive line depth will be tested against Baylor

MORGANTOWN — Something perplexed West Virginia University defensive coordinator Tony Gibson when he watched film of Baylor’s offense.

“Sometimes, I don’t know how they do it, they don’t even look to the sideline and they go tempo and they run three or four plays in a row,” he said. “I don’t know how the hell they’re doing that. Nobody even looks to get a signal.”

No. 4 Baylor (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) is the best in college football at scoring points (first in FBS at 52.7 per game) and the best at gaining yards (first in total offense at 622.5 yards per game), but also the best at running plays. The Bears average 90.2 offensive plays per game, tops among 128 major college programs.

That means that West Virginia (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) will have a taxing assignment this Saturday (noon, Fox Sports 1). The Mountaineers will need defensive players to keep up with the Bears’ frenetic offensive pace.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Defensive line depth will be tested against Baylor.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Bradley has ties to Baylor star, coaching staff

Tom Bradley and Shawn Oakman were once on the same side at Penn State.

Bradley, the West Virginia University football assistant, and Oakman, a star defensive end for Baylor, will be on opposite sidelines this Saturday when the Mountaineers (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) host the No. 4 Bears (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) at noon (Fox Sports 1).

Oakman is a 6-foot-9, 280-pound junior who is tied for 18th in the FBS in sacks (five) and nearly half of his tackles have been for a loss (8 of 17).

“I know Shawn well,” Bradley said Tuesday. “We recruited Shawn out of high school, redshirted him as a freshman. I got to see him a lot on the scout team, what he did. No question we thought Shawn would be a great player. We knew his athleticism.”

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Bradley has ties to Baylor star, coaching staff.

The Charleston Gazette | WVU’s Staten working through ankle injury

If Juwan Staten has a flaw — and despite all his accomplishments West Virginia’s Big 12 preseason player of the year certainly has a few — it’s that sometimes he just tries too hard.

Most of the time that’s anything but a problem. Truth be told, Staten is probably an overachiever and the primary reason is his work ethic.

But before practice officially began just under two weeks ago, Staten took a misstep. He came down the wrong way during one of those preseason workouts with teammate Tarik Phillip and turned his ankle. It has been weeks now and the ankle still isn’t right.

Where the trying-too-hard part comes in is that Staten pretty much refuses to take any time off to let it heal. And so as West Virginia works toward the beginning of the season in a month, the Mountaineers are doing it with their best player limping.

via The Charleston Gazette | WVU’s Staten working through ankle injury.

The Charleston Gazette | Transfers poised to make big impact in Big 12

College basketball these days is becoming a game of free agency.

That’s not news, of course. It’s been the case for more than a few years. Once upon a time the complaint was that if coaches can break contracts and move from one school to the next without much penalty, why shouldn’t players be permitted the same luxury?

Well, more and more they are.

Consider the Big 12, which on Wednesday held its annual basketball media day here at the Sprint Center.

The preseason player of the year in the league is West Virginia point guard Juwan Staten. It’s been a while and so some forget, but he’s a transfer from Dayton.

via The Charleston Gazette | Transfers poised to make big impact in Big 12.

Juwan on One – WVU Athletics

Juwan Staten goes Juwan on One with the rest of the Big 12 today at media day in Kansas City. The Big 12 preseason player of the year will also go Juwan on One periodically at home basketball games this season on Coliseum Vision.

via Juwan on One – WVU Athletics.

Baylor Preview – WVU Athletics

Two years ago, in 2012, West Virginia fans got their first taste of Big 12 football when the Mountaineers played host to Baylor.

It’s a game people around here still talk about.

There were 19 combined touchdowns and of those, 16 happened in less than three minutes. The combined 133 points were three shy of the NCAA record of 136 established by Navy and North Texas in 2007, and it was easily the most points ever scored in a football game involving West Virginia University.

The two teams generated 1,507 yards while running a staggering 180 plays; Baylor quarterback Nick Florence passed for 581 yards and Terrence Williams caught 17 passes for 314 yards – in a losing effort.

Yes, West Virginia won the game, 70-63, and considering how frequently Baylor is scoring points this year, the Mountaineers may need to have a similar offensive performance on Saturday just to keep pace with the high-flying Bears.

via Baylor Preview – WVU Athletics.

WATCH: WVU Basketball Coach Bob Huggins at Big 12 Media Day

Watch full video of WVU Head Basketball Coach, Bob Huggins    , as he addresses the media at 2014 Big 12 Media Day.

via WATCH: WVU Basketball Coach Bob Huggins at Big 12 Media Day – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Defense ‘never got back on track’ after 73-point scorching at Baylor

Shaq Riddick wasn’t part of West Virginia’s 2013 defense that was annihilated at Baylor, yet it only took a couple of film sessions this week for him to commiserate.

“Baylor almost scored 100 points,” he said, only slightly exaggerating what transpired in Baylor’s 73-42 runaway. The Bears piled up 864 yards (the most ever by a Big 12 offense), reeled off 38 first downs and breezed through nine touchdown drives of 72 yards or longer.

No West Virginia defense has ever been whipped so thoroughly or flattened so emotionally. Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson referred to it this week as “the most embarrassing game I’ve ever been a part of.”

via WV MetroNews – Defense ‘never got back on track’ after 73-point scorching at Baylor.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Gibson’s call for more pressure helped Mountaineer defense

Tony Gibson has been spending his time wisely, and West Virginia’s defensive coordinator made wise decisions when it mattered most Saturday against Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders had the football at their 30-yard line with 2:03 remaining and the score tied. Gibson had his defense blitz on the next six plays and called the same blitz five times. It forced Texas Tech to punt the ball and set up the game-winning drive that ended with Josh Lambert’s 55-yard field goal.

That blitz Gibson used again and again in the 37-34 win was new to his call sheet and designed to get after an offense that allowed just four sacks on 239 pass attempts in the first five games.

“I was looking at them just break film down last week, and on Monday I’m sitting there and thought, ‘You know what? Nobody ever gets to them with outside pressure. We’ve got to make sure we get something in his face and let him see us,” Gibson said.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Gibson’s call for more pressure helped Mountaineer defense.

The Charleston Gazette | Mountaineers finding balance on offense

West Virginia’s opponents have seen what the Mountaineers would most like to do on offense and have pretty much vowed not to allow it.

They saw Clint Trickett with 350- and 500-yard passing days and Kevin White with his string of outlandish receiving performances and Mario Alford with his speed and an occasional circus catch downfield. They saw all of that and they said, no, that’s not happening.

And so West Virginia has adapted. It’s not always been pretty and not always immediately successful, but it has been effective.

In the past two games, wins over Kansas and Texas Tech, WVU has rushed for an average of 252 yards. Rushel Shell now has back-to-back 100-yard rushing days and in Saturday’s 37-34 win at Texas Tech, he and Wendell Smallwood, the two sophomores in the team’s five-man stable of backs, became the first WVU teammates to run for 100 yards in the same game since Pat White and Noel Devine six years ago.

That’s three times in six games this season (the other was Towson) that the Mountaineers have rushed for almost exactly 250 yards (251, 255 and 249). Not coincidentally, in the team’s other three games it had its three highest passing totals against Maryland (511), Oklahoma (376) and Alabama (365).

In other words, balance on offense seems to have pretty much arrived.

via The Charleston Gazette | Mountaineers finding balance on offense.

Texas Tech Notebook – WVU Athletics

Yes, Texas Tech is struggling right now and, no, Saturday’s win in Lubbock won’t be listed among the all-time great victories in school history, but don’t discount the importance of Saturday’s win though.

No. 1, it came at Texas Tech, which, no matter how well or how poorly the Red Raiders are playing, it’s still a good victory because the people there care deeply about football. All you have to do is look around Jones AT&T Stadium, the banner showing the 36 bowl-game appearances the Red Raiders have made, the surrounding facilities and the fan support to realize that.

No. 2, the Mountaineers finally closed out a game. A month ago West Virginia pulled out a close one at Maryland, but the entire second half the Mountaineers were leaking oil and holding on by their fingernails.

On Saturday, West Virginia withstood an early barrage from Texas Tech, kept its poise and turned it on in the fourth quarter to overcome a 14-point deficit in the final 7:32 to win a Big 12 road game. That’s gold right there.

via Texas Tech Notebook – WVU Athletics.