Bits & Bytes: WVU - Norfolk St

In a week filled with discussion of weather delays and conference conundrums, there wasn't much focus on this week's game. We try to get you back on track with some last minute bits of news and opinion prior to the Norfolk State contest

BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Sat 9/10/11 1:00 PM

Morgantown, WV

Mountaineer Field
Record: 1-0
Rank: 19/24
Last Game
Marshall W 34-13
TV: ROOT
Radio: MSN
Web: BlueGoldNews.com
Record: 1-0
Rank: NR
Last Game
Virginia St. W 37-3
Rosters/ Bios
Game Notes
Season Stats
2011 Schedule

Series: First Meeting
First Meeting: NA
Last Meeting: NA
Rosters/Bios
Game Notes
Season Stats
2011 Schedule

Click for Morgantown, West Virginia Forecast


ANOTHER STREAK

After defeating Marshall last week, West Virginia is now 11-0 all-time against the Thundering Herd. The Mountaineers are also 11-0 all-time against FCS opponents (since that division has been created), and look to extend that streak to 12 against Norfolk State. Which winning streak is more likely to end first? You make the call.


HIDDEN WEAPON

Prior to the season, NSU backup quarterback Nicco Flores was expected to play a prominent role in the Spartan offense, perhaps even to the point of splitting time with starter Chris Walley. However, after Wally lit up Virginia State a week ago, how much might Flories be expected to see the field?

The UCF transfer certainly has the ability. In fact, he was on the field for the Spartans first offensive play against Virginia State, and was thus listed as the starter. He finished the game with seven carries for 17 yards, and also completed one pass for five yards in his only attempt. Flores is probably a run-first player, so WVU will be wise to check the normal array of quarterback keepers and zone reads when he comes into the game.


DEFENSIVE ALIGNMENT

While there has been a good bit of talk about Norfolk State's defense playing the same scheme as West Virginia, there's at least one difference that should be apparent right from the start. NSU plays a 3-4, rather than the 3-3 which WVU employs. That doesn't mean, though, that the two defenses might not share similarities in the tactics they employ.

WVU, in its 3-3, brings often brings the spur down to give its defense a 3-4 look, and can adjust its outside backers and bandit to present multiple front. Likewise, the Spartans might stack one or more of its linebackers directly behind down linemen, thus giving its defensive a similar pre-snap look to some of West Virginia's base defenses.

The upshot of all this? Keep an eye on both defenses, and see how they accomplish the same goals with different initial alignments. It should, if nothing else, point out the fact that schemes, and the labeling of such, might be a bit overrated in terms of what success they bring.


BEHIND THE LINES

WVU's outstanding 2010 defense crossed the line for stops on a regular basis in 2010. The Mountaineers finished with seven or more tackles for loss in seven contests, including a season-high 10 tackles for loss against both USF and Rutgers.

Last week, WVU continued that pace with seven stops in the Marshall backfield, with eight different players taking part. Will Clarke (The Blue & Gold News defensive player of the game) led the Mountaineers with 1.5 tackles for loss, while Bruce Irvin, Keith Tandy, Tyler Anderson, Jorge Wright, Najee Goode, Pat Miller and Terence Garvin also got in on the action.

Those stops helped WVU hold the Herd to just 72 rushing yards, which also compares quite favorably with last year's squad, which yielded 86.5 yards per outing.


OTHER LINE NOTES

Position changes were in evidence for both teams after their openers a week ago. For WVU, Quinton Spain has been moved from tackle to guard on offense. For Norfolk State, Justin Myler moved from the offensive line to the defensive line, and is expected to see action against the Mountaineers.


NOT JUST IN FBS

Norfolk State's conference, the MEAC, is also in the midst of an expansion process. The league expanded to 13 full-time members, including 11 football-playing institutions, with the additions of North Carolina Central and Savannah State this fall. Each league member will play eight conference games per year.

While this doesn't have any effect on the conference shuffle in the FBS, it does raise some interesting points. Leagues could play with an odd number of teams for a year or two, although that certainly wouldn't be the most desirable train of events.


WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Norfolk State opened the season in the aptly named Labor Day Classic on Sept. 3 against Virginia State, and faces nearby foe Hampton in the "Battle of the Bay" on Oct. 15. In between, the Spartans face South Carolina State in something called the "Fish Bowl Classic" on Oct. 1. We're offering a free one-month subscription to the first person that can give us details on the origin and history of the Fish Bowl Classic. Email your entry to TheStaff@BlueGoldNews.com.


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