Principles of Physics

Oklahoma's size along the offensive line gives West Virginia an advantage in one key area: leverage.

"I've told you this one hundred times: this is a leverage game," WVU defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich said. "This is a game where, if a defense is going to be a good defense, regardless of who their opposition is, they have to be a good pad-under-pad defense. It is going to be just as important for us to be pad-under-pad against Oklahoma as it was against everybody else we have played. I don't like to use the word easy, because it is never easy. But is it easier to get leverage on taller guys than shorter guys? Yes. It is easier."

Which makes No. 9 Oklahoma akin to the proverbial walk in the park – if only in that area. The five Sooner starters average 6-4-plus and 322.4 pounds. OU totals 1,612 pounds up front, with left tackle Phil Loadholt the biggest at 6-8 and 352 pounds. His backup, Cory Brandon, is 6-7 and 296, and left guard Duke Robinson is 6-5 and 352. The proof is in the play, however, and West Virginia has performed well against teams with size rather than smaller, faster teams.

"They have more good players than any other team we have played," Kirelawich said. "It will be a real chore for us. They are tall, big guys. It will be difficult. They are good. They may be the best line we have played. Where one team might have one guy like that, they have five of them suckers. This is by no means anything easy."

No other team West Virginia has played has size near Oklahoma's. The Sooners resemble many of the Boston College and Maryland lines, though the Terps were smaller this season than they are normally. They, along with a trio of tailbacks who have helped amass 2,493 yards of rushing offense, have allowed redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Bradford to lead the nation in pass efficiency and threw for 2,879 yards. Bradford has 34 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

Robinson, named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, the AP, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated, started 12 of 13 games and graded out at 85 percent. He recorded 97 knockdowns on 663 plays, 13 of which came versus Miami. He had 108 knockdowns last season. No other Sooner was named to even the All Big XII first team, however.

West Virginia defensive tackle/nose guard Keilen Dykes, at 6-5 and 295 pounds, is the largest WVU defender. End Johnny Dingle is 6-3 and 270 pounds and Scooter Berry is 6-2 and 285 pounds. Dykes, named a team captain, is a first-team All-Big East pick and will make his 44th start. Dingle, who announced he will declare himself eligible for the NFL draft, was an honorable mention All-American by

"This is the hardest game we will play," Kirelawich said. "And you know what? I am looking forward to it, and so are they."

Note: OU's Robinson is the great nephew of singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson.

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