Expecting The Expected

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- While the Florida State offense has changed since E.J. Manuel took over for the injured Christian Ponder at quarterback, WVU safety Sidney Glover said that doesn't mean that he expects the Seminoles to deviate entirely from the attack they used in the early season.

Ponder was a big reason for some of the lofty numbers that FSU offense put up in the early season. A relatively conventional drop-back passer with a penchant for throwing the deep ball well, he led Seminole coach-to-be Jimbo Fisher's attack with his aerial skills.

But since Ponder was forced out of the lineup with a season-ending injury late in the regular season, Fisher had to turn to Manuel as his signal-caller.

The quarterback who will start for Florida State in Friday afternoon's Konica Minolta Gator Bowl is an athlete in the "dual threat" mold -- as much (if not more) of a threat to run the ball on any given down than to pass it.

That didn't mean the Mountaineer defensive coaching staff simply threw out the film from the first nine games of FSU's season.

"Even though teams change up a little bit and put new things in for the bowl game, they still ain't going to get away from what they've done all season," Glover said.

"We expect some of the same things with new wrinkles here and there just because it's a new quarterback and a bowl game. We're prepared for everything, but mostly preparing for what they've done all year."

Glover and the rest of the WVU defense has had plenty of time to review its play against running quarterbacks since South Florida signal-caller B.J. Daniels made life difficult for the Mountaineers in USF's 30-19 win at end of October.

In that game, Daniels managed to escape defenders seemingly at will. Afterwards, players and coaches alike said that was the result of the failure of the West Virginia defense to keep contain when the Bulls' quarterback got outside of the pocket.

As a result, that has been a major point of emphasis for WVU coaches this week since arriving in Jacksonville for practice.

"That's what we got out of playing South Florida," Glover said. "There were people were supposed to contain and they weren't in position to contain the football. Now that we might see another (dual threat quarterback) one in this (game), that's exactly what we're focusing on."

"It's a team effort, so everybody individually (needs to) do what they are supposed to do in our defense."

For WVU, that task will involve tackling in space and otherwise working to counter the speed that the Seminoles possess at almost every position on their offense.

"Just watching them on film, that definitely stands out," Glover said. "They've got a lot of athletes and players than can run. You can see that on film."

"(They) just get their athletes the ball in space and play football, trying to beat people with their athleticism and run around people. That's what they do."

While Manuel is known more for his running ability than his prowess throwing the football, and many consider USF's Daniels a better passer, that doesn't mean Glover and the rest of the secondary will be cheating up in run support too much.

"We're preparing for the deep ball and everything. That's probably not one of his strengths, but as a quarterback in college for Florida State, he can do it," the junior said.

"If you can start at quarterback at that premier of a program as Florida State is, you've got to be able to throw the deep ball. Being Florida State, you can find a quarterback that can throw the deep ball. I'm pretty sure if he couldn't, he wouldn't be playing quarterback for Florida State. He probably doesn't do it as well, but he can probably do it."

With much of the focus on match-ups and speed at multiple positions, some may wonder if the Mountaineers will try to out-scheme their opposition.

Glover dispelled those notions, claiming that the focus is on executing their normal plan at the highest possible level.

"We're prepared for what we do, which is play hard and physical football. We'll stay focused on the game and play Mountaineer football," he said. "We've been doing it all season, and the game plan has been working for us. Hopefully, that will continue Friday afternoon."

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