Wide receiver Kevin White is having the type of breakout season that will probably earn him bags of cash at the next level soon. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior is a matchup nightmare due to his combination of size and speed.
White, who transferred to West Virginia (3-2, 1-1 in the Big 12) in 2013 from Lakawanna College, had a strong junior season with 35 catches for 507 yards and five touchdowns, but he has flat out exploded on the scene this year. White leads the Big 12 in both receptions (48) and receiving yards (765) to go along with four scoring grabs.
"His biggest improvement is that he's using his body much better. He's bigger, taller and stronger than most of the DBs he faces, he's learned how to screen them away from the ball, and he's attacking it at its highest point, rather than waiting for it to come to him," said BlueGoldNews.com publisher Kevin Kinder earlier this week. "Like most junior college players, that first year was filled with simply learning how to play at this level. He showed flashes of potential last year, and this year he is putting it all together."
Texas Tech would like to roll coverage his direction and double him with a safety, but the problem is the Mountaineers have no problem lining up in power packages and simply steamrolling opponents. West Virginia is second in the Big 12 in rushing attempts per game (217) and fifth in the conference in rushing yards (170.8)
You don't have to be an ardent supporter of the Red Raiders to know that spells trouble for this defense.
Tech is probably going to have to overload the box with defenders to slow down the run and take their chances outside in single coverage. That means more than likely sophomore Justis Nelson will be matched up 1-on-1 with White. Nelson will only give up an inch to White, but also more than 30 pounds, which will probably show up when the two are competing for deep bombs which are sure to come.
"It's the same game I have been playing with [Tyler] Lockett and those guys at Oklahoma State," said Texas Tech defensive coordinator Mike Smith earlier this week. "They are still going to come in and run it. You got to stop the run and you got guys on the outside that you got to protect as well, so you kind of mix it up and you got to keep them guessing. Show them you're playing cover 2 when we're playing eight, playing thirds, but playing man, keep it simple so the guys know their (run) fits. But right now you have to gamble and right now it's calling the perfect call on the perfect play to make it successful. As long as their playing hard we'll be fine."