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Defense Dominates in Saturday Scrimmage

WVU held an intra-squad scrimmage in the brutal Saturday heat. Tony Gibson’s inexperienced defense got the better of Dana Holgorsen’s veteran offensive unit.

Oklahoma State v West Virginia Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

With temperatures near 100 degrees and a heat index well above 105, Tony Gibson’s defense dominated an experienced offensive unit yesterday. During an intra-squad scrimmage, quarterback Skyler Howard threw interceptions, running back Justin Crawford fumbled and generally the offense could not get out of its own way.

The defense, which will be trying to replace 9 starters, only allowed two touchdowns. One was a short run by backup William Crest. The other was a long run by freshman reserve Cody Saunders.

Starting quarterback Skyler Howard threw two interceptions and backup quarterback William Crest threw another. Three running backs fumbled. The defense was able to force six turnovers, five “3-and-outs” and holding the offense to 5 scoring drives, the two touchdown runs and three field goals.

First year receivers coach, Tyron Carrier, who has been lauded for bringing a toughness to a finesse receiving corp, said his unit should take the blame for the offense’s missteps on Saturday.

Skyler was not the problem. He was not the problem. My guys were the problem cutting routes short, not fine-tuning what you’re supposed to do, not finishing blocks so a guy comes in and swipes at the ball from an angle when the running back thinks he’s safe. When you get those things happening, that’s how everything spills down.

“If we want to be a team that throws the ball — right now, we probably need to run the ball more than anything, because if it’s hot like this on Saturday, my guys won’t be there to respond. There’s nothing I can do, there’s nothing Dana can do, there’s nothing you can do. It’s all about what’s going to motivate them to run through this weather. - WVU Receiver Coach Tyron Carrier

For head coach Dana Holgorsen, seeing a veteran offensive unit struggle against an inexperienced defensive unit without their best player, junior safety Dravon Askew-Henry, has to be worrisome. With a fanbase already unhappy with the move to the Big 12 and the necessary adjustments, another inconsistent offensive unit will not endear the coach.

Saturday’s Stats

Scoring Plays:

William Crest 4 yd TD run

Cody Saunders 28 yd TD run

Mike Molina FGs of 41, 21 & 22 yards.

Passing Stats:

Skyler Howard: 13-27, 133 yds., 2 INT

Chris Chugunov: 8-16, 97 yds.

William Crest: 4-11, 43 yds., INT

Cody Saunders: 8-12, 56 yds.

Rushing Stats:

Justin Crawford: 11 rush, 64 yds., fumble

William Crest: 13 rush, 52 yds., TD

Martell Petteway: 6 rush, 34 yds, fumble

Cody Saunders: 2 rush, 30 yds., TD

Elijah Drummond: 4 rush, 26 yds.

Kennedy McKoy: 5 rush, 24 yds., fumble

Receiving Stats:

Jovon Durante: 3 rec., 80 yds.

Marcus Simms: 4 rec., 54 yds.

Gary Jennings: 4 rec., 53 yds.

Shelton Gibson: 4 rec., 38 yds.

Steven Smothers: 2 rec., 22 yds.

Alex Brooks: 1 rec., 22 yds.

Defensive Stats:

Jeremy Tyler: INT return TD, Fumble recovery

Jarrod Harper: INT return TD

Nana Kyeremeh: INT

Rasul Douglas: Fumble recovery

Reese Donahue: 2 sacks