On Tuesday evening, the Mountaineer players met with the media, and they all agreed on one thing – the bye week could not have come at a better point in the season.
Millard is looking forward to Saturday's game - and maybe a little revenge.
“It’s definitely a good time for us after a tough game versus Baylor, after a tough first half to the season,” said junior quarterback Paul Millard. “It was good to get a week off. Some of us got to go home. We’re excited to play this weekend.”
More importantly, though, it was an extra week for West Virginia to get healthy.
“I think it was well-needed rest. We had a lot of guys hurt,” said sophomore safety Karl Joseph. “That week off helped get some guys off the injury list. We’re more prepared now going into this week.”
One of those players that was injured was linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, who had missed the previous two games. Earlier in the day, head coach Dana Holgorsen said he had been cleared to practice, and the hard-hitting linebacker confirmed his health on Tuesday.
“It’s hard to watch. Even if your team is doing great out there, it’s still hard to watch (because) you’re not out there,” said Kwiatkoski about his injury. “(Now,) I’m good. No problems with the hamstring, I’ve been full go (at practice).”
Last fall, West Virginia headed to Lubbock undefeated and ranked No. 5 in the nation. This weekend, the Red Raiders come to Morgantown in a similar situation. That fact is not lost on the players.
“It’s a complete reversal from last year,” said Millard. “We’re looking forward to playing Saturday and doing to them what they did to us last year.”
For wide receiver K.J. Myers, though, he says this game is not so much about revenge as it is gaining confidence for the second half of the season.
“We need this win, of course, just like any other football game. This would be a big win. We need it. They’re undefeated; they’re ranked,” he said. “We just need it for ourselves – for real. A lot of people are still doubting us. We have a great team. We’re just waiting on that time. It’s coming. I feel it could come this weekend; you just never know.”
Texas Tech’s defense is much improved this season, allowing only Iowa State to score more than 23 points in a game so far this season. However, their offense is still their strong suit, and the Mountaineer defense has taken notice.
“They do a good job of executing their plays,” said Joseph. “We’re just going to have to come with our best Saturday.”
One aspect that could help is Holgorsen’s familiarity with the offense, and the team has been getting a full dose of that in practice this week.
“A big thing in our gameplan this week is going up against our own offense, trying to match the speed and the tempo of them,” said Kwiatkoski. “It’s very, very similar. I think it’s an advantage.”
EerSports' Alissa Hudak contributed to this article.
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