Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

West Virginia senior nose guard Shaq Rowell is “playing at a whole new level,” according to defensive coordinator Keith Patterson.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As skeptical as he is stout, West Virginia nose guard Shaq Rowell needed convincing when defensive coordinator Keith Patterson told a roomful of players they could be conference champions.

“Back in January, he told us we could win the Big 12 and, I’m not going to lie, I didn’t believe him,” Rowell said. “But the more we bought in from January until now, the more I started believing.”

The Mountaineers (3-2, 1-1) remain a long way from a Big 12 title, but not nearly as far as they were before upsetting preseason favorite Oklahoma State. Though it seems fanciful to imagine, West Virginia—after splitting games against Oklahoma and OSU—could become a serious contender with a victory over No. 17 Baylor (3-0, 0-0) on Saturday.

Rowell fawningly credits Patterson for this season’s defensive turnaround, while joking that his coordinator is “bipolar” — a hollering taskmaster during practices who becomes reassuringly optimistic on gamedays.

Likewise, Patterson returns the compliment, saying his senior nose guard “is playing at whole new level.” Through five games, Rowell is fourth on the team with 23 tackles, atypical for a heavyweight lineman who frequently encounters double-teams. Yet as he showed on one downfield tackle against Oklahoma State, Rowell isn’t content with simply plugging holes at the line of scrimmage.

The play developed when OSU tailback Desmond Roland found a seam on the left side. Though Rowell got penetration on the opposite side, the 6-foot-4, 305-pounder tracked down the runner after a 22-yard pickup.

Rowell was shocked when he noticed the play on film, struggling to recall the last time he showed such downfield mobility.

“Probably back in my wee days, when I was little,” he said. “It was just pure hustle— a matter of wanting it. I just ran and did it.”

Rowell might not be so fortunate to catch Baylor’s running backs, especially 4.3 speedster Lache Seastrunk, the Oregon transfer who’s averaging 11 yards per carry.

Compounding the difficulty is that Baylor’s variation on the spread offense employs different principles—and more tendencies—than what WVU faced in its first five games.

“The first five weeks we faced the same offense—let’s be real about it,” Rowell said. “They all ran the same things, they were just different teams. I could tell what they”re doing.

“But Baylor, I can’t pick it up. I’m out here playing chess right now instead of checkers. I’m confused right now. I’ve just got to go in there and watch a little more film. By the time Saturday comes, I’ll figure something out.”

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  • Ybbodeus

    50-17 Baylor.

  • Big Larry

    I can't even begin to tell you (chomp chomp) how stupid (chomp) my last 2 (gulp) comments were.

    I put those predicted score on here (chomp) like trickett is ( crunch ) on defense. (Gulp)


    I really have ( burp) no idea what the heck ( munch, chomp) is going on other than I love dipping Cheetos in ice cream. ( swallows)

    So please ( crunch, munch) disregard the stupid (gulp) crap I type on here.

    ........( commode flushes)

    I only want (pulls underwear from waistline and wipes cheesy powder from Cheetos off face) some friends. It cold and lonley ( burp) here in ma's basement.

  • Dougie

    Oklahoma St hadn't played anyone and it hurt them. I think Baylor will have the same issue. Hopefully home field isn't the difference, but should be a good game if we can get some points. Unlike most of you out there, I think we can win with Millard if Trickett can't go. Millard actually put up the best numbers of the three against a top team. Problem at the time was that everyone was comparing him to what we had last year (Geno). Now that our expectations have come back down to earth, I think we would be pleasantly surprised by Millard. If he plays we'll be fine. Go Eers!!

    • Dougie

      And I'll go as far as to predict, If Millard plays Saturday, he will have the best qb performance for WVU of the year so far.

  • Justin

    lets just play the games and get ahead of ourselves. offense really needs to step up this weekend.

    • Justin

      *not get ahead of ourselves

  • Big Larry

    I can't wait till metro news goes to a Facebook format.
    Momma done kicked me off of Facebook.
    Said facebookin was the devil!!!

  • William101

    Glad I changed my online name. Rowell is the best NT we've had since Chris Neild. Funny what a year does to a college player. He's a senior, a leader, and a spokesman for the team.

    Baylor has taken an interesting approach to the season with 3 out of conference patsys to start it. I'm guessing it couldn't control big 12 scheduling so that some of the scheduling is happenstance. Regardless, Baylor had a new QB with less experience than Paul Millard, and its been able to play him some, gain confidence, and get PT for the entire roster.

    Big issue is - given the rotations and diverse playing time for so many and two byes already, will conditioning problems for some arise if they have to play all game? Will there be rust?

    Obviously, I'm hoping so. It's a hostile environment, and we'll need a break or two plus good, solid play, if we are going to have a chance to pull out a victory.

  • wvajoker

    Hot Dog!!! More pearls of wisdom from the Auspicious one --Slick William

  • Big Larry

    I appreciate everyone calling me a "Marshall Fan"...what a great compliment to be called that.

    I hope everyone continues to do that because it pleases me so...

    And you think it bothers me? Why would it? I consider it a great honor to have my name mentioned in the same sentence with Marshall University...Go Herd...

    Now back to business, William made an interesting point. Is Trickett and Holgorsen having problems? Yes...and that comes from Holgorsen himself.

    I see it as a failure to communicate...

    Here is my prediction for Saturday...Drum roll please...

    If Tricket starts and plays the entire game:

    Baylor 38 WVU 24

    If Tricket plays half the game:

    Baylor 49 WVU 17

    If Tricket sits the Bench:

    Baylor 55 WVU 7

    Go Mountaineers!!!

  • mauldawg

    But true, William has a friend named Big Larry. Both are true MU fans and WVU trolls.

    • Big Larry

      I hope how soon that Metro News follows suit and goes to the Facebook format...that way, it will eliminate all the impostors who think they are me....

      • hailey

        Larry, if your are in such a hurry go ahead and post your personal info now so we dont have to keep hanging on the edge of our seat for your true identity. get over yourself big guy.

  • tw eagle

    sounds like coach Patterson has the Mounties pointed in the right direction . . .working and thinking during the week of practice , and just going out playing and having fun on game days ... BELIEVE ... I like you as Henry V coach P. , and your happy few , your band of brothers ...

    Let's Gooo Mountaineeerrss ! ! !

  • Whatamoroon

    Don't worry pghmountaineer. The only inside info William has is when his momma is going to have dinner ready because he can smell it from the basement.

    • JS

      LOL. William is the same guy named "Billy" in those DUI commercials on TV and radio. You know, the one who is driven everywhere by his mommy. LOL

    • hailey

      William is a classic troll, but let's keep him around its like shooting fish in a barrel, easy target, small IQ

    • Pat

      Now that's funny!

  • pghmountaineer

    William, I hope that's not true. Clint is our only hope to have a wining season. If it is, we're in a heap of trouble. That said it doesn't suprise me.

  • William

    'FROM INSIDE THE HUDDLE' - Clint Trickett is in the dog house with Holgorsen. The two are not getting along, and Holgorsen is not happy with him. Hope these two can make up soon or we might not see to much of CT.

    • WV07

      Cut and paste artist......loser.

    • Chuck

      So a hack that comments on metronews and is an obvious Marshall fan has inside info on wvu. Please!!!!! Shut up and go away. My 2 yr old has more inside info than you.

      • Bobby M

        Hey Friend!!!! I DONT want this to sound like a pick SO PLEASE know I only mean with best intentions but if your 2 year older really HAS insiders info then I would have TO guess you must BE a coach personally or YOUR a coaches friend or grandson! And if THAT means what I think IT means - were in GOOD shape!

        Spot IT up! Let IT rip! Rock n ROLL Rumble to victory!

        (From the left - LETS GOOOO!!!!)

        (From the right - MOUNTAINEERS!!!!!)