I bit the bullet and went back and watched the West Virginia game from last year. I followed that up by watching the West Virginia vs Tennessee game from this year, and I came up with a few things to look for from the West Virginia offense on Saturday.
When you don’t tackle Will Grier he throws it deep.
If you haven’t deleted last years the West Virginia game from your memory, you’ll remember this point. West Virginia had several big plays, including a touchdown on Will Grier scramble and chucks.
If you need a refresher, here you go.
Here is a similar play from the Tennessee game.
This is obviously hard to stop because Grier has good pocket awareness and isn’t afraid to chuck it up and let his tall receivers make a play. Against K-State he was chucking it up to 6’1 Ka’Raun White. Against Tennessee he was chucking it up to 6’4 TE Trevon Wesco.
There are four ways to stop this from happening:
Tackle Will Grier when you have the chance.
As you can see on both plays, running by Will Grier and swatting at him with one hand isn’t going to get him on the ground. He’s a good athlete and he’s fast enough to run away from defensive linemen. If K-State gets him on the ground last year, they probably end up winning the game. He’s willing to put himself at risk for a big loss in order to try and make a big play. The Wildcats have to punish him when he’s running around 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
If you can’t tackle him, don’t let him roll right.
Scouting report discipline is important. In basketball, you try and stop players from going to their dominant hand. It’s a little harder in football, but it’s possible if you stay disciplined. If you’re pressuring Grier, you can’t let him get back right. You’ve got to slow down, remain under control, and give up a chance at a lunging sack attempt in order to ensure he doesn’t have the ability to drift right and throw the jump ball.
Knock it down.
The difference between the K-State play and the Tennessee play is that Tennessee didn’t let the wide receiver box out. It’s really that simple. When Grier starts scrambling, the West Virginia receivers start posting up. If you’re in the Wildcats secondary, you can’t let the receiver get position on you because Grier is good and is going to give his tall guy a chance to out jump your short guy. Ideally, you sandwich the receiver and keep him from having a clear view of the ball.
If all else fails, tackle the receiver
If you’re in the K-State secondary and you find yourself matched up with one of the giant West Virginia wide outs, and you don’t think you can make a play on the ball, make a play on the receiver. It’s that simple. This isn’t the NFL. Give up a 15 yard penalty instead of a 40 yard pass. This obviously isn’t the best solution, but if 6’6 David Stills has you posted up and a ball is on the way, don’t let him catch it, by any means necessary, even if that means tackling him before the ball gets to him.