Changeup Yields Final Stop

For most of the afternoon, West Virginia's otherwise stout defense seemed unable to stop Rutgers' Kenny Britt on crossing patterns and other routes in the middle of the field. Then, on the Scarlet Knights' final offensive play of the game, the Mountaineers did something completely different.

Faced with a Rutgers offensive line that had done very well in handling West Virginia's stunts and blitzes, defensive coaches David Lockwood and Jeff Casteel decided to call Scooter Berry's favorite play -- the drop.

That doesn't refer to one possible outcome of a pass (although Berry did, eventually, drop a ball that he could have caught). Rather, it refers to the action that Berry takes. Instead of rushing the passer, Berry drops into pass coverage and looks to disrupt routes in the middle of the field.

"I'm supposed to take out an crosses," Berry said of his primary responsibility on that play call. "The guy crossed behind me and I was able to flow with it and bat it down."

"The guy" in this case was Rutgers wideout Tiquan Underwood, not Britt, but it was the same sort of action that produced Rutgers only consistent offense of the game. This time, however, the different look led to a pass into a defended area.

"That was the first time we ran 'drop' today, "Berry confirmed. Coach Casteel and Caoch Lock -- that was a great play call."

Also contributing to Berry' enthusiasm over his game-saving play was the fact that the drop is one of his favorite defensive tactics.

"It's funny, in practice I always want to run that play," he said. "I'm always saying, 'Coach Lock, let's run the drop,' and he'll say, 'No, we're not running the drop!'. And then today, he called the drop, and I just looked at him and smiled. And it worked out. It felt good to be able to drop back and get the bat down."

Teel's pass hit Berry right in the hands, and although he could have had an interception, the result was the same, as the fourth-down incompletion gave the ball back to WVU to run out the clock. He said he did endure some kidding from friends and teammates for not catching the ball, but that was certainly not any source of concern to the genial lineman.

Berry came to West Virginia under the shadow of his half-brother, Jason Gwaltney, who no plays for C.W. Post. As sometimes happens in such tandems, however, it was the under-appreciated Berry who ended up making his mark in Division I.

"I never doubted myself as a player," he said of the perception that he was part of a package deal. When I came here, I just tried to play my part, and it's turned out to be a lot. I just wanted to come out and make a name for myself."

If he hadn't already, Berry certainly did that with his game-saver agaisnt the Scarlet Knights.


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