MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 24: Spencer Ware #11 of the Louisiana State University Tigers stiff arms Najee Goode #52 of the West Virginia Mountaineers during the game on September 24, 2011 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
The Mountaineer defense gave up 47 points to arguably the best team in the nation Saturday night. That's the most points scored on the Mountaineers at home since giving up 48 to Maryland in 2002. Turnovers and field position (LSU's punter had all of his punts downed inside the 20, usually the 10) killed WVU. Combine that with the tempo the offense tries to work at and you have all the makings for a very tired defense.
We knew coming into this season that the defensive line would be undersized compared to most and the linebacking corps were young. Compound that with the dismissal of Branko Busick before the season and now the broken arm of Doug Rigg. If any more injuries occur up front, the Mountaineers could be in serious trouble on defense, if they aren't already.
Let's go back a week further. You could visually see the defense wearing down against Maryland in the second half as they started really pounding the ball with their running game during their furious comeback attempt. Still, they were able to get stops when they absolutely had to. I'm not saying the defense is bad, far from it.
This is a fairly young defense that has talent...just not a lot of depth. That's why LSU's defense is so impressive. They can rotate in two or three players at every position with virtually no drop-off in production or talent. Recruiting help is reportedly going well for WVU, but those guys are obviously at least a year away. And along those lines, I sincerely hope many of the final slots available are for the defensive front.
Thankfully, this week's Bowling Green squad is likely the only high flying offense that WVU will face until the season finale against USF unless Pitt's "high octane" attack finally starts to come together (and perhaps Cinci's). WVU must play smarter on special teams and not turn the ball over in order for the defense to even have a chance to catch their breath.