West Virginia defense trying hard to put Baylor game in the past
West Virginia's Terence Garvin, right, and the rest of the Mountaineers defense is trying to forget Baylor's 63-point output Saturday as they prepare to face Texas this week.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia's historic offensive outburst is still the talk of college football this week, and for good reason.
But with a game at No. 12 Texas looming Saturday for the No. 8 Mountaineers, it begs the question: how does the defense turn around and recover from one of its worst performances in decades?
West Virginia gave up 700 yards to Baylor, nine touchdowns, 34 first downs, and got burnt in the passing game.
"We can't call somebody and ask for a trade or try to pick someone up off of waivers," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "Those are guys that have played around here for a long time. We have to get them better. The freshmen have to continue to improve, and it is our job as coaches to get the young guys more experience in practice, so we can trust them a little bit more during the game."
Holgorsen was far less critical of his defense with three days of space and game tape since West Virginia's 70-63 victory.
He praised the defensive line and the linebackers, who helped hold the Bears to 2.64 per carry.
But the secondary was a different story.
The Bears passed for 581 yards.
Defensive backs coach Daron Roberts said the key is learning from the Baylor game and then leaving it "in the rearview mirror."
"You've gotta move on. You can name any top corner in the country ... they've all had bad games. Move on. Texas doesn't care," Roberts said. "Offensive coordinators are not going to stop passing the ball so they don't hurt your feelings."
Safety Darwin Cook said it's important to let go, but remember just a little.
"You also keep it in the back of your mind just to let you know you can't slip up like that again. It embarrassed a lot of people," he said. "You let go for a reason, but you also keep it with you for a reason."
Holgorsen said confidence building will be important, and that some of that responsibility lies on each individual.
"There's different ways of developing confidence. One is being successful," Holgorsen said. "There are guys back in the secondary that have been successful in the past, but others are true freshmen. The other way is probably to man up a little bit, get out there and work hard. Nobody is going to give you anything. You've got to earn everything, so if you don't like the result you have to work hard in order to change it.
"That isn't just a reality in football, that is a reality in life last time I checked. At some point you have to man up and get the job done."
After the game Saturday, West Virginia is ranked No. 106 in total defense.
NOTES -- Holgorsen was mum on the status of running back Shawne Alston (bruised thigh). "We'll see how he does today." His teammate, running back Dustin Garrison, who returned from an injury two games ago, said Alston practiced Tuesday. "I'm trying to be there for him. He really wants to get back on the field."
First Published October 3, 2012 12:00 am