"These guys are huge, they are a lot bigger than us," said offensive guard Jeremy Sheffey on Saturday. "The guys I'll be blocking are 320, and I'm just 290, so I have to use speed and quickness to my advantage. Against bigger opponents, agility can be your best weapon."
Although the Mountaineer offensive line certainly won't back down from any challenges and will play physically, there's also a common sense approach in trying to block foes that outweigh you across the board. Sheffey, who is probably WVU's leading outdoorsman, puts in an terms that anyone who has every driven a pickup truck or towed a vehicle can appreciate.
"It's kind of like if your truck is rated for one weight and you throw 30 more pounds into it, your hitch is going to pop off," he said. "You might get away with it a few times, but after a while it's going to break. So, to us, we don't want to wear ourselves out trying to push 320 pounds around. It doesn't sound like a lot, but when you are facing two guys that squat 600 pounds and they are carrying 30 more pounds than you are, that's a big advantage."
As noted previously, West Virginia prides itself on being more physical than the opposition, so there certainly isn't any "give up" in this approach. However, the Mountaineers are smart enough to know that they shouldn't spend time spinning their wheels trying to move larger objects when there are other avenues to explore. The Mountaineers have a variety of options and schemes in their running game, and figure to empty the playbook as they try to find some things that work against the SEC champions.
Sheffey and his linemates have faced big, mobile lines before, so it's not as if the Bulldogs will be the first line to throw the total package at them.
"Louisville had good size, and in my first start against Miami I faced huge guys, so throughout the years I've played against big guys," Sheffey noted. "But these guys are athletic and huge. They are some big dudes."