January 2019 - 17

that works for us. That's where things started to change
six years ago. We developed a different way of doing
things with how we practiced, what our schemes were
and our offensive philosophy. Everything we did was for
the betterment of the program - more physical, running
the ball more, recruiting more fullbacks and tight ends,
running the quarterback more than we had.
We didn't lose sight of our offensive air raid roots, but we
wanted to be able to do things a bit differently than other
teams in the Big 12.
You've had some fantastic quarterbacks over
the years, including Case Keenum, Geno Smith
and now Will Grier. What's your approach to
finding a strong quarterback?
We don't take a whole lot of high school guys. At West
Virginia, we do things a bit differently from a recruiting
perspective.
We developed our own recruiting strategy, and that's
taking local Northeast talent, all those guys that are
within good striking distance to West Virginia. We'll take
as good of high school players as we can find and fill the
void with transfers. In the five-year period that we had
this philosophy, we've probably taken 50 percent four-year
transfers from junior colleges or graduate transfers. We
get a lot of top-end players that way. Then, we've gotten the
heart and soul of local high school players who really want
to be Mountaineers.
You're known for your up-tempo offense, and
earlier this year you said that the up-tempo
can be detrimental to your team if not done
properly. What did you mean by that?
If you go fast just for the sake of going fast, and there's
no chaos on the defensive side, it's not going to work. You
can go fast and lose yards based on not having things
schemed up right.
You need to be able to vary tempos. I think the easiest
thing for a defense to face is when an offense plays one
tempo. If you're always fast or always slow, the defense
dictates your tempo. We're always under the assumption
that it's helpful offensively to control the tempo. If defenses
don't know when you're going to snap it, that causes a lot of
panic on that side of the ball. We're doing a good job of that.
We have the ability to go fast when we know where
they're at. We can get them on their heels and wear them
out, catch them in things. We're also able to control tempo
to the point where they're going to show us their hand and
what their plan is. That's really important.
This is your first year with a tight ends coach.
What changed your thinking with the tight end
position and how it fits into your offense?
We've been headed that way for several years. Those
guys are hard to recruit; everybody would like a 6-foot-5,
270-pound tight end that can run and catch. We had to
make a conscious effort of recruiting them several years
ago, which we did. It was just hard to justify having three
COACHAD.COM 17
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January 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January 2019

January 2019 - 1
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