West Virginia’s forward line against Kedon Slovis and Pitt
We continue to discuss USC’s main ties to the Backyard Brawl – West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh – in Week 1. JT Daniels, Kedon Slovis and WVU Offensive Coordinator Graham Harrell were all horses of Troy, together, a few seasons ago. Now, they’re set to face off in a prime-time debut season.
We sat down with SB Nation’s West Virginia Moutaineer blog The Smoking Musket to learn more about the game.
Trojan Thread: What will West Virginia’s game plan or line of attack be against Slovis?
The Smoking Musket: West Virginia lost a good deal of defense to the transfer portal, but they also returned a lot of talent and brought in transfers of their own. The strength of the defense is absolutely top seven, however, and specifically an extremely experienced defensive line led by Dante Stills and Tajh Alston. I expect Jordan Lesley to look to shake up Slovis with defensive line pressure to try and help a secondary that’s going to burst into a lot of new faces.
If they can get to Slovis and shake him up early, I think the West Virginia defense has a chance for a really good performance. Unlike the offense, West Virginia’s defense has been a well-drilled, well-oiled unit under Neal Brown despite significant roster turnover every year, and I expect 2022 to be no different.
Trojan Thread: What do you see as the biggest keys for WVU in this game?
The Smoking Musket: I think on offense, if Harrell is smart, he starts by relying on a pretty solid West Virginia backfield and an offensive line that brings everyone back from last year and doesn’t come out trying to throw hays early, especially when you’re playing against a rushing defensive line like Pitt’s. Trying to play too early could be a recipe for disaster if you let Daniels take too many hits. Try to remember this is a marathon, not a sprint, and let the offense come to you and prepare the big plays for guys like Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Same James for later in the game. match.