Mountaineers More Then Slaton & White

It's easy to see why the media and fans of college football know the names of Steve Slaton and Patrick White with the performances they've had since taking on their roles last season. But here is what really makes the Mountaineers run.

Ok, so it's easy for me to write this article as the Bearcats and Mountaineers prepare to battle in Mountaineer Field this Saturday.  As most of those on this site (Bearcat Insider) and our West Virginia counterpart (Blue & Gold News) know, my brother Jeff Berk attended West Virginia University and started 34 games during his career (2000-2004) wearing the Old Gold & Blue. 

 

That's history, but it does allow me to have more knowledge then the average person who may write a pre-game article from one of the other sites on this network when they play the Mountaineers.  So let's get started and look at what really makes the system Coach Rich Rodriquez has installed since taking over for legendary coach Don Nehlen in 2001 work.

 

Rick Trickett: The biggest hire Rodriquez made when he took over the Mountaineer program was getting the former West Virginia native away from his days in the SEC to take over the offensive line.  While some may not agree with the way this former Marine does things, no one can mistake the success the WVU offensive line has enjoyed during the past six seasons. 

 

While members of the media talk about all the different packages Rodriquez has installed as his offense has grown over the years since coming to Morgantown, it's been the consistent play of Trickett's offensive zone-blocking schemes that's made the biggest difference.  Trickett makes no secretes about the fact he runs the zone just like godfather and zone guru Alex Gibbs did while the offensive line coach for the Denver Broncos.

 

What makes the zone scheme work?  The best way to describe the system is the offensive line works as a unit and must have players with good feet.  While other programs go out looking for big, strong oversized offensive linemen (Ohio State), West Virginia looks for those players that can move.  As the line moves as a unit laterally they set up some natural seams or gaps in the defensive formation.  The rest is the responsibility of the running back to find the hole, make the cut and get as much yardage as he can.  While Steve Slaton has enjoyed the giant gains many saw against Louisville, you don't really need to have a speed back running the ball for the offense to work.  It just makes for bigger gains.  But over the course of running the system other backs have found success as well who don't posses the same speed Slaton has shown.

 

Dan Mozes: The senior offensive lineman has been a solid performer since hitting the field as a redshirt freshman.  While other programs didn't look hard at the Washington, PA native, Rick Trickett found the ideal player for his system.  While not the tallest of linemen, Mozes has great leverage, strength and feet while earning early playing time in his career. Mozes may become Trickett's poster boy when he leaves the program after this season and heads off to the NFL.  Mozes has the smarts and physical ability to dominate at his position and holds the key to the Mountaineers rushing attack. 

 

Mozes biggest trait is his ability to shed and get to the second level of the defense.  This helps open up those big lanes you see on television.

 

Block Don't Catch

 

That is what Rich Rodriquez has asked his wide receivers to do since installing his offense.  While some (Chris Henry) never really liked blocking that much in the past, Rodriquez has now found receivers who are buying into his system and is the second biggest reason the Mountaineers offense is working the way it has.

 

Can West Virginia Be Stopped?

 

Yes, while this system has been on a record course it's also one that can be stopped.  Virginia Tech proved that last season when they held the Mountaineers to only 150 rushing yards and saw WVU get frustrated and charged with seven penalties for 55 yards in West Virginia's only loss last season 34-17 in Morgantown.

 

Looking Back / Looking Ahead

 

Louisville: One never knows what a team will do when they lose a highly fought game like the one West Virginia was in last week in Louisville.  Some teams find it hard to get the loss out of their heads while others will go out to prove it was only a blimp on the radar.  But you have to wonder about these Mountaineers as they've seen announced changes all over their defense from their head coach. 

 

Pitt: Ask any Mountaineer fan and they will tell you the following.  "Pitt Sucks", it's engrained into their heads from birth until the day they die.  Players who hail from West Virginia know all too well what the Pitt vs. West Virginia game means.  Then add in those players from the Keystone State who Pitt ignored and you have players looking to make sure they get their wins in the "Backyard Brawl".  This year the Bearcats find themselves headed into Morgantown right in the middle of the two biggest games of the season.  Not only do the Mountaineers have to deal with an up & coming Cincinnati defense, they must also be ready to battle the Panthers five days later.

 

So there you have it.  These are the reasons the Mountaineers have really seen success over the course of the past several seasons.  But keep in mind, this Bearcats team is not the same one that took on the Mountaineers last season in Nippert Stadium.  This group has seen success on the field and has learned both mental and physical toughness over the course of the season as they battled other highly ranked opponents.  If anyone can put together a defensive stand to slow down WVU it will be Pat Narduzzi and Mark Dantonio.  But the players must do the job on the field and keep the Mountaineers in check in the first quarter just like they've done Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Louisville.

 

For those who are not making the trip to Morgantown this week don't forget to watch the Bearcats on television.  Also, get your tickets for the Rutgers game (Saturday, November 18th) to cheer on the Bearcats against another ranked opponent as send off the seniors in grand fashion.

 


Bearcat Insider Top Stories

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Ok, so it's easy for me to write this article as the \r\nBearcats and Mountaineers prepare to battle in Mountaineer Field this \r\nSaturday.  As most of those on this \r\nsite (Bearcat Insider) and our West Virginia \r\ncounterpart (Blue & Gold News) know, my brother Jeff Berk attended \r\nWest Virginia \r\nUniversity and started \r\n34 games during his career (2000-2004) wearing the Old Gold & Blue. 

\r\n

 

\r\n

That's history, but it does allow me to have more knowledge then the \r\naverage person who may write a pre-game article from one of the other sites on \r\nthis network when they play the Mountaineers.  So let's get started and look at what \r\nreally makes the system Coach Rich Rodriquez has installed since taking over for \r\nlegendary coach Don Nehlen in 2001 work.

\r\n

 

\r\n

Rick Trickett: The biggest hire \r\nRodriquez made when he took over the Mountaineer program was getting the former \r\nWest Virginia \r\nnative away from his days in the SEC to take over the offensive line.  While some may not agree with the way \r\nthis former Marine does things, no one can mistake the success the WVU offensive \r\nline has enjoyed during the past six seasons. 

\r\n

 

\r\n

While members of the media talk about all the different packages \r\nRodriquez has installed as his offense has grown over the years since coming to \r\nMorgantown, it's been the consistent play of Trickett's offensive zone-blocking \r\nschemes that's made the biggest difference.  Trickett makes no secretes about the \r\nfact he runs the zone just like godfather and zone guru Alex Gibbs did while the \r\noffensive line coach for the Denver Broncos.

\r\n

 

\r\n

What makes the zone scheme work?  \r\nThe best way to describe the system is the offensive line works as a unit \r\nand must have players with good feet.  \r\nWhile other programs go out looking for big, strong oversized offensive \r\nlinemen (Ohio State), West \r\nVirginia looks for those players that can move.  As the line moves as a unit laterally \r\nthey set up some natural seams or gaps in the defensive formation.  The rest is the responsibility of the \r\nrunning back to find the hole, make the cut and get as much yardage as he \r\ncan.  While Steve Slaton has enjoyed \r\nthe giant gains many saw against Louisville, you don't really need to have a \r\nspeed back running the ball for the offense to work.  It just makes for bigger gains.  But over the course of running the \r\nsystem other backs have found success as well who don't posses the same speed \r\nSlaton has shown.

\r\n

 

\r\n

Dan Mozes: The senior offensive lineman \r\nhas been a solid performer since hitting the field as a redshirt freshman.  While other programs didn't look hard at \r\nthe Washington, PA native, Rick Trickett found the ideal \r\nplayer for his system.  While not \r\nthe tallest of linemen, Mozes has great leverage, strength and feet while \r\nearning early playing time in his career. Mozes may become Trickett's poster boy \r\nwhen he leaves the program after this season and heads off to the NFL.  Mozes has the smarts and physical \r\nability to dominate at his position and holds the key to the Mountaineers \r\nrushing attack. 

\r\n

 

\r\n

Mozes biggest trait is his ability to shed and get to the second level of \r\nthe defense.  This helps open up \r\nthose big lanes you see on television.

\r\n

 

\r\n

Block Don't Catch

\r\n

 

\r\n

That is what Rich Rodriquez has asked his wide receivers to do since \r\ninstalling his offense.  While some \r\n(Chris Henry) never really liked blocking that much in the past, Rodriquez has \r\nnow found receivers who are buying into his system and is the second biggest \r\nreason the Mountaineers offense is working the way it has.

\r\n

 

\r\n

Can West \r\nVirginia Be Stopped?

\r\n

 

\r\n

Yes, while this system has been on a record course it's also one that can \r\nbe stopped.  Virginia Tech proved \r\nthat last season when they held the Mountaineers to only 150 rushing yards and \r\nsaw WVU get frustrated and charged with seven penalties for 55 yards in \r\nWest Virginia's only loss last season 34-17 in \r\nMorgantown.

\r\n

 

\r\n

Looking Back / Looking Ahead

\r\n

 

\r\n

Louisville: One never knows what a team will do \r\nwhen they lose a highly fought game like the one West \r\nVirginia was in last week in Louisville.  Some teams find it hard to get the loss \r\nout of their heads while others will go out to prove it was only a blimp on the \r\nradar.  But you have to wonder about \r\nthese Mountaineers as they've seen announced changes all over their defense from \r\ntheir head coach.  \r\n

\r\n

 

\r\n

Pitt: Ask any Mountaineer fan and they will tell you the \r\nfollowing.  \"Pitt Sucks\", it's \r\nengrained into their heads from birth until the day they die.  Players who hail from West Virginia know all too well what the Pitt vs. \r\nWest Virginia \r\ngame means.  Then add in those \r\nplayers from the Keystone State who Pitt ignored and you have \r\nplayers looking to make sure they get their wins in the \"Backyard Brawl\".  This year the Bearcats find themselves \r\nheaded into Morgantown right in the middle of the two \r\nbiggest games of the season.  Not \r\nonly do the Mountaineers have to deal with an up & coming Cincinnati defense, they \r\nmust also be ready to battle the Panthers five days later.

\r\n

 

\r\n

So there you have it.  These \r\nare the reasons the Mountaineers have really seen success over the course of the \r\npast several seasons.  But keep in \r\nmind, this Bearcats team is not the same one that took on the Mountaineers last \r\nseason in Nippert Stadium.  This \r\ngroup has seen success on the field and has learned both mental and physical \r\ntoughness over the course of the season as they battled other highly ranked \r\nopponents.  If anyone can put \r\ntogether a defensive stand to slow down WVU it will be Pat Narduzzi and Mark Dantonio.  But the players must do the job on the field and keep the \r\nMountaineers in check in the first quarter just like they've done Virginia Tech, \r\nOhio State and Louisville.

\r\n

 

\r\n

For those who are not making the trip to Morgantown this week don't forget to watch the \r\nBearcats on television.  Also, get \r\nyour tickets for the Rutgers game (Saturday, \r\nNovember 18th) to cheer on the Bearcats against another ranked \r\nopponent as send off the seniors in grand fashion.

\r\n

 

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\r\n

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\r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"

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