Considering the West Virginia offense has pretty much impressed everyone who cares about college football already, it's pretty clear the defense still has a lot to prove before conference play begins on Sept. 29. (Cue the Baylor countdown)
The main concern against James Madison on Saturday will be stopping the run.
The Dukes average 304 rushing yards a game in FCS football, ranking them No. 1 in the Colonial Athletic Association and No. 7 nationally at that level.
They have a mobile quarterback in Justin Thorpe who averages 88.5 rushing yards a game, but the team's best run threat is without a doubt tailback Dae’Quan Scott.
His status for the game is questionable, but if he does play could pose some problems. Scott has averaged 90 rushing yards a game, and though he's not huge - 5-9, 205 - has talent.
From Keith Patterson, co-defensive coordinator:
“I think going into any game you have to build everything to stop the run. Scott is a good player, runs the inside, outside zone. They try to get the ball on the perimeter and you’ve got to keep the quarterback contained. When he pulls it down he makes things happen on his feet,” said Patterson.
“They’re really good up front. They’re well coached. They’ve got a good scheme. They do a lot of things from a formation standpoint that make you adjust, try to get you out in the flank. You’ve got to go through a progression and be able to get lined up, make sure we’re gap sound and keep the ball inside and in front.”
That said, because it's still early in the season a lot of the focus is still internal.
“I think the bottom line, still at this point in the season, you’re still focusing on yourself,” said Patterson. “You’re trying to correct mistakes and issues from game one, which are still trying to become a better football team.”