WVU CBs take lessons from 2013 loss to Terps

As Daryl Worley broke down film of last year's Maryland game with cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell Monday night at the Milan Puskar Center, the two of them came to a realization.

"You were really slow last year," Worley recalled Mitchell joke with him.

In just the fourth game of his college career, Worley was a freshman trying to prove he deserved to break into the starting lineup and make plays. He could tell there was a difference, and there was a good reason behind it - and it's something that the entire cornerback group has been able to take and improve on heading into Saturday's rematch against the Terrapins.

"I've got to be honest, I was thinking a lot last year. So, if anything, I can tell this year we're doing a lot less thinking and a lot more playing," he said. "We're doing exactly what we should be doing, we're out there making plays and reacting to what we see not what we think we're going to see."

West Virginia will have quite the challenge this year as it tries to limit a talented group of Maryland receivers who have been able to make plays on a consistent basis this year and in years past.

Led by preseason all-Big 10 picks Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, as well as Marcus Leak, the Terrapins have plenty of targets for C.J. Brown, Maryland's third-year starting quarterback, to spread the ball around to.

Despite last year's 37-0 loss, the Mountaineer secondary graded out fairly well against the Maryland passing game. Brown's touchdown pass in the first quarter to Dave Stinebaugh was his only score of the game through the air, as he finished 16-of-25 for 217 yards, and with the exception of Long's six grabs for 98 yards, no Maryland receiver had more than two catches or 40 yards.

"Our kids did some really good things, but we didn't make enough plays to keep us in the game and that was probably the No. 1 conversation we have had," Mitchell said. "'What could you have done to effect the game a little bit more?' We had our hands on a couple balls we could have intercepted and instead of having a pass breakup, we could have had a couple interceptions to help our offense get a shorter field. We just didn't get that done at the end of the day last year."

When the WVU cornerbacks coach looks at Maryland's receiving corps, the thing he sees that makes it as dangerous as it has been is the variety of different ways Mike Locksley's offense can use them to make plays.

With that many players who can do that many different things, it's not an easy task to contain that many weapons.

"They all bring different talents to the table," Mitchell said. "Long is the guy that can be the possession receiver and can stretch you vertically, he's a sure-handed receiver who can go up and get it. Then you have Diggs who is always a play away from breaking every play and he's a talented player in space that you can do a lot of things with as far as screens and options. (Leak) is a big, physical guy that can stretch you out and catch the ball well in traffic.

"They're a really talented group of kids and they get the job done as a committee."

But the Mountaineers will lean on their added experience to help them take the lessons they learned last year in order to make the plays they need to make to be successful Saturday in College Park. Having that experience and being through the situations they have been through have made things easier for them to play without thinking and not be afraid.

"With experience comes the ability to not be fearful of making mistakes," Worley said. "There were certain guys that were out there scared to make mistakes because they didn't want to let anyone down - I was like that too. I didn't want to disappoint my team. But you can't be like that when you're out there playing, that can't be in your mind.

"You can't be afraid to make mistakes. If anything, you have to be willing to take risks so you can make plays."


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