Responding To The Call

With West Virginia's defensive line missing two players from its normal rotation, the Mountaineers need the remaining members of the squad to perform above and beyond the call of duty against Connecticut.

While just about everyone up front played well in WVU's 37-11 win, one player that stood out was Alabama native Warren Young. With both Pat Liebig (who did not make the trip) and Johnny Dingle (dressed but did not play) on the sidelines, Young played one of the best games of his West Virginia career.

"I think I played pretty good, but there are always things I can do better," said Young. "There were a few things I messed up on, but overall I think it was a pretty good game. I went out there and made some plays today, and that's something I know I am capable of doing."

Young made more than just a few plays against the Huskies, who certainly had to tire of seeing big number 90 storm through the offensive line again and again. The senior recorded eight tackles, including 1 ½ behind the line of scrimmage. He also had a sack for a ten-yard loss as he helped hold the UConn offense to 210 yards overall.

During what was his best game in 2006, Young played both end and nose. He relished the opportunity to do so, knowing that it meant more time of the field for him.

"I liked switching back and forth," said Young of his positioning. "That's something [Coach Bill] Kirelawich presses me on. He teaches me all three positions so I can go in anywhere. That's an advantage so I can go in for anyone that goes down. I like playing any of them – so long as I get on the field."

Although Young and his teammates played well, things weren't perfect. One of the few troubles that West Virginia has was with wide rushing plays on UConn's second possession. That drive led to three Connecticut points and some pointed words from WVU defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel. "The stuff we were getting beat on is stuff we practice against every day," Young noted. "We were getting reached on the ends, and Coach Casteel told us to go out and play our game. He said you've got to stop that, and once we did, they didn't have too many options other than passing. Once we did that, we pretty much shut the run down."

In addition to the obvious benefits of the win, the defensive line's play also had to further bolster the spirits of Kirelawich, who celebrated his birthday on gameday. With Young's good performance hopefully providing a springboard for a solid second half of the season, along with the return of Liebig and Dingle for the Louisville contest, the Mountaineers now have more quality depth than ever before.

"It does," said Young in response to a question about the newly-fortified line. "The coach knows if someone goes down, he can play several of us anywhere he needs to and not have to worry about it."

The defensive line also contributed several big hits on Connecticut quarterback Matt Bonislawski, eventually helping to drive him from the game. Although Bonislawski didn't suffer any one particular injury that knocked him out, the cumulative effect of several big hits affected his accuracy and caused him to be tentative in the pocket. That led to his subsequent benching and replacement by D.J. Hernandez.

"We got to the quarterback really well. We were knocking him down," Young said with a grin as he recalled several big hits laid on by the Mountaineer defense. I wish we could have gotten some more sacks, but I think we did our job."

With a solid performance under his belt, Young hopes he and his defensive mates can continue against Louisville.

Coach Casteel said we have been getting better each week, so that was our goal here – to get better again. We know that Louisville will be a better team than UConn. We just have to get ready and keep trying to put everything together, and Louisville would be the perfect time for that to happen."

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