Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

November 7, 2012

Cowboys: WVU's defense better than popular opinion

STILLWATER — It’s been highly publicized throughout the year as to what is the weakness of the West Virginia football team. While the Mountaineers have a high-powered offense, they have an equally terrible defense.

This week, it will be up to Oklahoma State to find a way to further exploit a Mountaineer defense which ranks dead last in the Big 12 Conference in scoring defense and in the bottom three of the other defensive statistics — except for rush defense, which WVU is fourth with 132.5 yards given up per game.

“It’s week to week. If you watch them last week against TCU, up until that 94-yard pass and 25 yards in overtime, they’d only given up 200 yards and had only given up seven yards rushing in the first half — that’s pretty good,” OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. “In their bye week, I think they simplified things. I think they took the way they’ve been playing lately personally. ... I wouldn’t put too much stock into what's already transpired because we’re different from Baylor, we're different from Kansas State, we’re different from of the other teams they’ve faced.”

The players aren’t sleeping on the defense, however. They know the West Virginia players will be prepared — after all, the coaches preparing them used to be the same coaches preparing the Oklahoma State players.

The trip to Stillwater for Mountaineers will bring back former OSU coaches Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia’s head coach, and WVU’s defensive coordinator Joe DeForest — who served as the special teams coach and worked with the safeties for 10 years at Oklahoma State.

“We’re going into this game respecting their defense. We know what kind of coach Coach DeForest is and what he’s capable of so we’ll figure it out from there,” OSU wide receiver Charlie Moore said.

The thing the Cowboy offense will have to figure out before Saturday has to do with its quarterback situation. The OSU coaches, as they have been all season, were mum Monday on the status of starting quarterback Wes Lunt who showed concussion-related symptoms after taking a big hit in the third quarter against Kansas State.

With the status of the true freshman quarterback up in the air once again, it’s possible junior Clint Chelf could get the starting nod. And the Enid native already has the respect of his teammates with how he performed when duty called Saturday against Kansas State.

“You’ve always got to be ready and that’s definitely what happened this weekend. Chelf came in and did a great job,” OSU junior running back Joseph Randle said. “He came in and ran our offense very well — like a leader, like a veteran. He came and knew exactly what to do.”

Jason Elmquist is the sports editor for the Stillwater NewsPress.

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