Mountaineers Prepare for Inexperienced Maryland Attack - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers Prepare for Inexperienced Maryland Attack


There seems to be a asterisk following West Virginia's offensive accomplishments through two games.

It's a "Yeah, but" sort of scenario in which the names of the Mountaineers' first two opponents are used as reasons for the success Dana Holgorsen's group has been able to have when in possession of the football.

While no one on the WVU roster will downplay the level of competition they have faced so far in the season, they also recognize that the deeper they get in the schedule, the more challenges they will face.

"We have a good, quality team coming to Morgantown on Saturday," Holgorsen said on Tuesday. "We expect to play at the highest level of college football. We want everybody's best every week that we play them. We expect to get everybody's best, and we encourage them to bring their best."

Much of Holgorsen's weekly press conference was spent praising this week's visitors, the Maryland Terrapins.

Much like his team's offense has a group of experienced veterans returning, so too does Maryland's defense. And where WVU's defense is full of young players with limited tests, the Terps have a similar plight on offense.

"What they're going through is the same thing we'd be going through if we had to start Ford Childress," Holgorsen said of Maryland's true freshman starting quarterback, Perry Hills. "When you play that many young kids, there are going to be times where it doesn't look very good, times where it is frustrating and they're not moving the ball as well as they'd like to."

The Terrapins bring to Morgantown an offense that ranks 119th nationally as it continues to try finding its identity under new coordinator, Mike Locksley.

Holgorsen is familiar with what Locksley has done in the past as well as what Maryland did in Randy Edsall's first year at the helm, but what he sees on tape this year is understandably different.

"[Locksley is] a guy that likes to tempo," says Holgorsen. "It's hard to do when you have a freshman quarterback, a bunch of new running backs and an inexperienced o-line. They're not tempoing very much. If they do, so be it, we'll be prepared for it, but they're not doing it very much."

The team, the system itself, may not present much of the tempo Holgorsen speaks of, but one speedy young weapon will.

Stefon Diggs, a receiver and return man who West Virginia (along with just about every other team in the nation) coveted out of high school, chose instead to stay home in Maryland. Now, with the Mountaineers on the horizon, he is getting comparisons to WVU's Tavon Austin.

Holgorsen understands the similarities, but doesn't buy them being as strong as some have claimed. 

"On tape, he has some twitch, but there are a whole lot of kids that have twitch," Holgorsen says of Diggs. "He's a Baltimore kid that wears [jersey] No. 1 that's a receiver and return guy - I guess they're clones. I don't know the kid, but he's a good player."

Diggs ranks in the top 25 nationally in both punt and kick returns and has been targeted more than any other receiver in the Maryland offense other than sophomore Marcus Leak.

"We don't care who they are; we figure out what their schemes are and what we have to do to contain guys like that," says Holgorsen. "It's about our coverage units, and we spend a lot of time on kickoff coverage, we spend a lot of time on punt coverage and we have to get people down the field and make tackles."

It's not just Diggs and Leak who present a concern for Holgorsen, though. He lists Kevin Dorsey and Kerry Boykins as two who will demand his defense's attention. The question is how well their quarterback can get them the ball.

Hills has completed just 53 percent of his passes for 444 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions through three games. He leads the team in carries with 38, but most of those have come when the offensive line in front of him gets beat and he has to improvise with his feet.

His 44 yards on the ground show that the success on those types of play has not been overwhelming.

Whether or not Maryland will give West Virginia a bigger test than the Mountaineers have faced this season remains to be seen, but Holgorsen is preparing for that to be the case.

"Are they better than the teams we've played?" he asks. "We're certainly expecting that."

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