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No Surprises With Kansas State

Heading into most game weeks, West Virginia watches hours and hours of film, looking for tendencies from their opponent and trying to figure out what they're going to see from them that weekend.

Dawson says whoever "executes it the best" will win on Saturday.

This Saturday, though, there are no secrets with Kansas State.

"You know where they’re going to line up. There’s no smoke and mirrors," said Offensive Coordinator Shannon Dawson. "They don’t have a lot of disguises."

With a known gameplan already in place, Dawson says the key is to either get a fast start or, if the Wildcats come out swinging, to respond in kind.

"They’re going to line up and hit you right in the mouth," he said. "And you’re going to know where they line up every single time, so the challenge is to get out there and hit them back in the mouth and be able to execute."

Defensive Coordinator Keith Patterson is facing the same situation with the Kansas State offense. Although he admits he is running two separate quarterbacks on the offensive scout team - to simulate Daniel Sams (the running option) and Jake Waters (the passer) - Patterson says the team knows what to expect, regardless of who is under center.

"There are some different things that they do with the different styles of quarterbacks, but we prepare and I think we got a good plan to defend both of them," he said.

Part of that has to deal with the nature of a Bill Snyder-coached team, meaning they are predictable, but no easier to stop.

"The players keep doing what they do, keep doing what they do, keep doing what they do… they wait for the opponent to make a mistake," said Patterson.

As for who will come out on top, Dawson put it best.

"In a way, they know what we’re going to do and we know what they’re going to do, so we’ll see who executes it the best."


According to Patterson, this week's matchup with Kansas State is a better fit for the Mountaineer defense.

"The last couple of opponents have been able to spread us from sideline to sideline and have the ability to run the ball, but you also have to defend vertically and horizontally across the field," he said. "They were able to isolate us a little bit. Now we can get back to getting guys in the box."

The two players he feels will make a much bigger positive impact in this game than they have the past couple weeks are his two safeties.

"I think (Darwin) Cook and (Karl) Joseph’s strengths are run-support style safeties," he said. "I think that plays a little more into our comfort profile."


Getting a fast start on offense is "the point every game," says Dawson, but he admits that has only happened once, against William & Mary. Doing so will be a focus again on Saturday.

"We try to start fast every week, but part of that is trying to learn the identity of this team and how to start," he said. "I think we got a pretty good feel for it and hopefully we can start a little bit faster this week than we have been. That’s definitely a stress point."

Something Dawson would like to do is run the ball, but he knows it will not be an easy task.

"I think running the ball is going to be tough," he said. "Obviously we’re going to try to, but to do that we got to be able to sustain blocks and move (the defensive line) out of there."

EerSports' Alissa Hudak contributed to this article.

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