Can the Texas defense slow West Virginia?
West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey celebrates with his teammates in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 70-63 victory against Baylor.
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In four days, Texas coach Mack Brown hopes to have a plan in place to slow down No. 8 West Virginia.
Brown seemed awestruck on the Big 12 Conference's weekly media call Monday when referring to the Mountaineers' outstanding offensive performance Saturday behind quarterback Geno Smith.
"That's what we're trying to figure out today," Brown said. "They're just unbelievable. Geno [Smith has] thrown 20 touchdowns and no interceptions. He's probably ahead of the curve that Robert Griffin set last year. He's got to be a leader for the Heisman and he just makes no mistakes.
"I think they may be as good as any offense I've ever seen."
Yet the Longhorns were 7- point favorites at home as of Monday, largely because of a fast and opportunistic defense that West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen knows will pose problems.
"Defensively, they're really, really fast," Holgorsen said. "They've got tons of speed, [we will] have to be prepared for a whole lot of blitz and get prepared for man coverage."
Oklahoma State knocked around the Texas defense a bit Saturday, gaining 8.6 yards per play. The Longhorns needed a late fourth-quarter drive by quarterback David Ash to secure a win.
Brown said the fundamentals of tackling will be a focus this week or the Longhorns will pay.
"We'll give up 70 this weekend if we don't tackle better than we did Saturday night," said Brown. "We had 12 missed tackles on Saturday night, three equaled for 109 yards. It's really affected us two weeks in a row. But you're seeing more points scored than ever before in college football. It's not just a problem for us."
West Virginia rolled out 807 yards of offense in a 70-63 victory Saturday against Baylor, picking up an average of 9.2 yards per play and giving Brown and his staff quite a bit to be concerned about.
"You have to try and keep them in front of you and not give up the big play," Brown said. "It's what we went into the Oklahoma State game trying to do. There's a lot of guys trying to strip and knock a guy down rather than just tackle."
Still, the game is without question the toughest game on the Mountaineers schedule yet this season. And they will have to try to win it on the road at DKR-Memorial Stadium, a difficult place to play.
"We're going to have to play well, there's no question," said Holgorsen.
NOTES -- Kansas State coach Bill Snyder had a tongue-in-cheek answer to offer to Big 12 coaches trying to slow down the elite offenses in the conference this year: "I think you kidnap the quarterbacks. That's about the best thing I can think of right now." ... West Virginia's Oct. 13 game at Texas Tech in Lubbock will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on Fox. ... It came as no surprise, but Smith was named the Big 12 offensive player of the week for his eight touchdown passes and 656 passing yards Saturday when he completed 45 of 51 passes. ... West Virginia's internal awards went to center Joe Madsen on offense, defensive end Will Clarke on defense, and Garrett Hope on special teams. Offensive scout team performers were Mark Glowinski (offense) and Sean Walters (defense).
First Published October 2, 2012 12:00 am