Syracuse To Wield Familiar Strategy

The weekend has come and gone, so now the attention of the Mountaineers has shifted to Syracuse. Coaches have reviewed the film of the Rutgers game and will spend all day Monday reviewing film of the Orange. Midway through that process, head coach Bill Stewart sees a challenge to come despite Syracuse's 1-4 record.

A main cause of concern for Stewart lies with Syracuse running back Curtis Brinkley, who is averaging 5.7 yards per carry this season.

"We haven't seen a player who is averaging that many yards per carry so I am concerned that he could break one on our defense and put us in a hole quickly," Stewart said.

Stewart was impressed by the Syracuse offense as a whole, and cited their strong performance against Pitt as another area to watch. Two weeks ago Syracuse played Pitt at home, and if not for 18 fourth quarter Panther points, Syracuse would have gained its first Big East victory of the season.

"They had Pitt on the ropes in that game and they really played hard," Stewart observed.

Stewart said that Syracuse will try to accomplish what teams such as East Carolina and Colorado did against the Mountaineers – control the ball.

"Syracuse will try to control the football against us and keep our offense off the field, so as a defense we need to contain their backs and get them off the field," Stewart said. He added that WVU has been doing a much better job of stopping the run in recent weeks and this should help them in the homecoming contest this weekend.

Stewart also spoke about some of things his team is working on, including using Jarrett Brown more in the offense and getting running back Noel Devine more touches. Brown was used mainly on short yardage running plays against Rutgers but did roll out once and used some misdirection with Pat White lined up in the slot.

"Jarrett is excited about the package that we have put in for him and he is a long-legged guy with really good speed who can also run some people over," Stewart said.

Stewart also said that he would like to get Noel Devine more touches but said that much of the reason he didn't was because of what the defense of Rutgers allowed. "We tried to get him some swing passes but Pat White made some throws 8 and 10 yards downfield instead and there is nothing wrong that," Stewart said. He added that Devine had to leave practice early on Tuesday because of a lab test and that made it difficult for Devine to be at his best come game time.

Stewart also spoke about tight end Tyler Urban, who caught a 25-yard touchdown pass against Rutgers. The Mountaineers haven't had a true tight end in their offense in some time and Urban could be the player to fill that void, although he will have to log more time than the handful of plays he has seen thus far. Urban, like many freshmen, is still assimilating all the aspects of the offense, or at least the packages that include tight ends, and is still growing in that regard. Stewart, however, sees big things for him.

"He is a hard working player who in two years will be a household name in West Virginia," Stewart said.

On the surface, this weekend's game looks like it should be a runaway, but the Mountaineers would be wise to remain focused on the task at hand. West Virginia hasn't scored enough points to put teams away early, and this could develop into a "look ahead game", with Auburn looming on Oct. 23.


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