Although the unit gave up four sacks to Oklahoma State in last Saturday's loss, West Virginia line coach Ron Crook stated that he didn't think the Mountaineers' offensive line necessarily played poorly. Crook did however state the need for continued improvement and conceded that the Mountaineers' graded out lower against OSU than they had in the majority of the performances this season.
"I don't think we played poorly (against Oklahoma State)," Crook said. "I didn't feel that way on Saturday and I don't feel that way after watching the film. But our job is to get the ball in the end zone and we didn't do it enough. My job is to get the guys to play better every week and we didn't play good enough for us to win. This one was a little bit lower on the grading scale than most of the games so far this hear. Part of that is playing a really good opponent. You're not going to score as high when you play against a really good opponent but we talked for quite a while on Sunday and this game doesn't come down to who we're playing, it boils down to us playing at our best when our best is needed and I think we need to do some things better."
While Kansas's defensive numbers haven't been great by any means this year, there is one player who is putting up some eye popping numbers. Defensive end Dorance Armstrong has recorded at least one sack in the last six games and is tied with Kansas State's Jordan Willis (who recorded three sacks against the Mountaineers earlier in the season) for first in the Big 12 with 8.0 sacks on the season. When discussing Kansas's defense, Crook stated that he was impressed with the effort and energy the unit has played with and specifically pointed to Armstrong's play as a testament to that.
"(Kansas's defense) is not taking plays off," Crook stated. "They are not loafing during plays. They have guys who have bought into their system and bought into their coaching. When you watch this team on film they play extremely hard on every play. Their defensive end (Armstrong) is as good as anyone we have played all year long. I was watching the game on Saturday on the plane and I saw he has a sack in like seven straight games or something like that. That's the sign of a guy who plays hard every single game. He doesn't get those because he takes plays off."
In order to keep Armstrong and other Jayhawks out of the backfield, West Virginia center Tyler Orlosky said both technique and communication must improve among the unit.
"The majority of the sacks are coming when there is a miscommunication or a lack of technique up front," said Orlosky. "Those are things that we have to address and we will. I think we have to over-communicate a little more. We get to the point where we're going fast and we know what we expect each other to do but if we're going up tempo then we have to communicate well like we do when we come out of the huddle."
Orlosky also touched on Kansas's defense and the different challenges that the Jayhawks personnel will pose on Saturday night.
"(Kanss) is a good team," Orlosky said. I think their head coach does a good job of building that team up. They have good players - they have good defensive linemen and a good defensive end and their linebackers are solid players. They have been good but they haven't been able to finish off games this year. Their not a team we can take lightly and we won't."null