Mountaineers to battle Tech today

By Tony Viola

Ogden Newspapers

MORGANTOWN – A bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Though WVU sits at .500, it’s been a seesaw season thus far.

The Mountaineers had gone six straight grueling weeks and four of the six opponents they faced were undefeated at the time with three ranked in the Top 25.

“We gave the team (last) Friday, Saturday and Sunday off,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Assistant coaches were able to get out on the road and recruit, and I am really happy with how that is going. The reception has been very good. Our theory and motivation on this was to get the team away from everything Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

Now it’s back to the grind as the Mountaineers will host their fifth undefeated opponent, No. 16-ranked Texas Tech today.

Holgorsen, who was an assistant coach for the Red Raiders from 2000-07, believes his team will be ready to handle all of what Texas Tech brings to the table.

“Offensively, it is something that we know very well,” he said. “Obviously, (I have a) history with (Texas Tech coach) Kliff (Kingsbury), and I know what he has done offensively and how he operates. We are both cut from the same cloth. So, we are going to know what they do offensively. Obviously, the challenge is to stop it. They play very up-tempo and very high energy.”

The two team’s offenses are so similar, in fact, Holgorsen had his No. 1 defense go against his No. 1 offense in practice instead of the scout team, so the defense could get accustomed to the speed of the game.

One player the West Virginia offense would have trouble replicating in practice, though, is Red Raider tight end Jace Amaro. The 6-foot, 5-inch 260-pound junior has caught 47 passes for 606 yards, but has only one touchdown reception. In last week’s 42-35 victory against Iowa State, Amaro had nine catches for 143 yards which made it five straight games the tight end has had at least eight receptions.

“He is big, fast and strong, and he blocks well and catches well,” Holgorsen said. “He is pretty good. He should come out after his junior year. What happened last year is that we injured him so he had to come out, and he was on the shelf the rest of the year. This year he has been hard to contain.

“He is a guy that can do a lot of different things. He creates a tremendous amount of mismatches, not just for us, but everybody they have played since then. I do not know how to stop him; you try to double cover him, but that opens up room for some other good skill guys as well. He poses a lot of problems, and they have done a good job at utilizing him to get first downs and open up things for some other people.”