West Virginia's air raid continues to develop following a bye week as it prepares for the No. 5 Horned Frogs

MORGANTOWN W.Va. - A still-developing intermediate passing game has hurt West Virginia at times this season. But after a second open week, the offense expects to show improvement.

The Mountaineers had a chance to key in on what worked and the mistakes following Baylor, their third top 20 team in four this month. After film review, Skyler Howard seemed extra motivated following the bye week, especially with the wide receivers and newfound threat David Sills. Howard noted the extra time gave them a chance to better develop. 

“It was really beneficial. We got some more guys really understanding what’s going on, and trying to find those holes in the defense,” said Howard. “Offensively we’re getting better each week. We took the bye week, attacked it and got better.” 

The addition of Sills at receiver added a spark against Baylor. Howard and Sill’s previous chemistry adds another needed element to the offense. Both know the feel of properleyreading the defense, and where the balls needs to go along with the timing involved.

“We’ve thrown after practice each day this week,” said Howard. “He’s using better technique, and continues to get better.” Sills helped stretch the field with his two catches for 65 yardslast game, including a touchdown along the dieline when he located the ball over his shoulder and hauled it in. Following the Baylor loss, head coach Dana Holgorsen raved about his natural athleticism, and attitude towards a position change. 

But for the fist time this season, Jovon Durante was held to zero receptions in the last outing. Durante was essential in WVU's first five games, but in the most recent depth chart, Sills was bumped ahead of Durante. Both will play, though. Through the first five games, Daikiel Shorts and Howard looked like they were on the same page. That was before the offensive struggles at Baylor. The two only connected twice for a total of  five yards, which begs the question of exactly where the passing attack is headed at the midpoint in the season.

Can the Mountaineers hit the midrange passes? Or do they continue to settle for deep throws, some in short yardage situations? Does both the timing and feel, and the resulting easier schedule aid in the efforts over the next month?

Following the bye week Shorts did echo the praise for the receivers. He said the timing with Howard continues to progress, and the team is ready to test its mettle with another top five match-up.. 

“They have great players, but so do we,” said Shorts. “We’re just ready to get out there. We know it’s going to be a good game."

With both Terrell Chestnut and Ricky Rumph out, TCU seems even more primed to score points, and the offense could find themselves playing catchup, meaning West Virginia will need to show progress on that side to play with the unbeaten Horned Frogs. 


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