Allan Taylor/WVMetroNews

Defensive ends Shaquille Riddick (4) and Dontrill Hyman (99) work on hand placement during West Virginia’s preseason drills.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Sack totals alone aren’t necessarily the most accurate gauge of a team’s pass rush.

But after a unit ranks 107th out of 123 FBS teams in sacks, combined with finishing 92nd in third-down defense and 96th in passing-efficiency defense … well, the metrics don’t lie.

West Virginia’s 2013 pass rush wasn’t adequate on any level, and Tony Gibson is counting on new additions to remedy the void in 2014.

Gardner Webb graduate transfer Shaquille Riddick has been encouraging in his camp debut, and junior college linebacker Edward Muldrow is flying around. Gibson envisions those long, lean newcomers joining holdover Brandon Golson in packages aimed to ramp up the pressure.

“If I don’t have those three on the field on third down, something’s wrong,” Gibson said.

Before Saturday’s practice—the eighth of West Virginia’s preseason camp—Gibson said Riddick has looked every bit as disruptive in person as he did on the first highlight video the coach saw in May. Back then, Gibson was in Florida recruiting when a call alerted him that an FCS All-American was looking to transfer up.

“I watched Shaq’s video on my cell phone,” he said. “I watched about eight to 10 plays and said we need to get his guy.”

Among those plays were two sacks at the expense of Marshall tackle Garrett Scott, a sixth-round pick of the Seahawks. Even at a slender 240 pounds, Riddick’s 6-foot-6 frame, long wingspan and natural burst should help his pass-rushing skills translate to the Big 12.

Allan Taylor/WVMetroNews

West Virginia newcomer Edward Muldrow brings athleticism to the Sam linebacker.

“There’s certain guys who just have a knack for it,” said Gibson.

While Riddick essentially can be lined up and let loose in obvious passing downs, other situations require him to learn responsibilities specific to WVU’s scheme.

“He’s had some great days of practice, but there’s other days where he has breakdowns,” Gibson said. “That’s on us as a coaching staff. He just has to catch up.”

Muldrow has earned first-team reps at Sam linebacker —”He can run, he can bend the edge,” Gibson said—and Golson is almost cleared from shoulder surgery at the Will spot outside, where he made four sacks in 2013. Teamed with Riddick, the group presents a more athletic force than last season, when opposing quarterbacks completed 60.8 percent of their passes, highest in the Big 12.

“Those three guys, we feel, are going to be good matchups for us,” Gibson said. “They’re really able to get after the quarterback.”

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  • TruthTeller

    Every WVU fan go to this guys youtube channel and give your opinions of how you think the Alabama game will go. Look up lawtide on This guy is talking all kinds of trash about WVU being scrubs and nobody even knows who we are anymore. He is saying its just going to be business as usual with Alabama. He claims Bama is going to mop the field with the WVU scrubs. Take a stand for our

    • JJ

      I'll cast judgement on the Mountaineers after the game. We're 24 pt. underdogs. Seems right to me after what I've seen the first two years in the B12.


    How is Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma and K-State going to attack WVU's defense ?

    Run the ball straight at Golson & Riddick they are under size and very athletic, the best way to handle such speed is to run straight at them....

    Clint , Dana & Shannon needs to figure out how not to put so much pressure on the defense and staying on the field offensively, That would be a huge help to our over matched defense that ranks 107th in the country.... ( not to mention first time DC) WVU needs a good game plan from the moment they step off the bus in Atlanta... all phases of the game, we need to attack on all phases of the game... this is an all out war in Atlanta in Alabama's backyard... if we don't match Alabama's energy level we will get steam rolled and hurt physically.

    Let's GOOOOOOOOOOOO!!Mountaineeeeeeeeeers!!!!

  • Big Larry

    You have to love all the pre season Hype...
    However it all ends with Bama...

  • Dave

    Did any of you WVU fans ever wonder why all the MOO fans troll on the WVU stories? I just took a peek over on the MOO board. Stories....Day 4 practice update - 1 comment, Day 5 practice update - comments, Day 6 practice update - 0 comments, NEW UNIFORMS !!! - NO COMMENTS !!!!!!!! You know, I kinda feel sorry for Dave Wilson over there. The guy writes some decent stuff.

    Just a thought, MOOO FANS - Go Support Your Team !!!!!!!!!!!

    • JimJim

      Ohio State, Just 222 miles away, come and see us sometime.

    • pc

      Really? Maybe Herd fans find it laughable that cheerleaders at Metro News make such inane comments like how Riddick did in Gardener Webb's game at Marshall last year. Like that is really relevant to how he will perform for WVU this year. After all, since MU won that game 55-0, wouldn't you think the Herd players took a few plays off during that game?

  • scott

    I say we shock the world on Aug 30 and clown stomp Alabama.

    • Morgan Morgan

      We can "shock the world" with a lot lesser achievements than beating Bama. Let's see if we can just beat Maryland, and the bottom of the Big 12, Kansas, TTU, TCU and ISU before we spout off like jackwagons.

      That 6-6 (Towson being the other W) would shock a ton of people.

      • JJ

        agree 100%.

        We have zero to shout about at this point.

        • One bullet

          WE don't have a thing to say. WE can only support our team. WE aren't on the field bleeding but WE will get the pleasure of watching another season of mountaineer football. Whether this is another amazing season that shocks colledgefootball or it's just a mediocre showing I for one appreciate the hard work and dedication of these athletes. I'm looking forward to our team proving themselves.

  • pc

    Sorry, Allan, but I believe that during a 55-0 blow out that more than one Marshall offensive lineman took a few plays off against Riddick and GW!!!

  • JimJim

    Drink the cool-aid!! 4-8 Bet on it!

  • john

    Allan, Vegas has us as an over/under win total of 3. What is your opinion of this team? Hopefully saying what you feel and not what the readers want to hear.

    From what I'm reading and what I know I can't see how we don't win at least 4 with really the belief we can win 7. Is it because I am wearing my blue and gold glasses?

    • One bullet

      These kids can achieve a lot on the field. They will be underestimated this year. 7 or 8 wins but a better chance against an overrated media favorite Alabama team than expected. Gotta hype Bama to keep the SEC strong and those recruiting classes rolling in. Too much money in the SEC.

    • Allan Taylor

      @John: The team looks better in pads, but the depth won't be validated until it's needed—say when a backup has to make a second-half play against Oklahoma. Given how 2013 ended, a 7-5 finish would constitute a major bounce-back. I'm more inclined to predict a ceiling of 6-6, which would require a couple of upsets along with Ws over Towson, Kansas, TCU and Iowa State.

      • Londoner

        Cornelius McFadden, a prodigal South African statistician and Fellow at Cambridge - and a fan of American College Football - predicts the West Virginia Mountaineers will be the surprise team of 2014 and the decade, and after statistical analysis using his sofisticated Newburgh Calculus Method (modified for college football) could very well go undefeated to win the National Championship in 2014. WVU was a close second to Baylor...Oregon third, Alabama fourth.

      • Morgan Morgan

        In other words, we look like 4-8 team?

    • notorious


  • Ron - from Morgantown

    I can say this about the reporting by the media - new and old - covering Wvu , they have certainly raised the expectations of the fans with all the positive news . I don't know if this is done deliberately or if they are simply reporting what they see and what the coaches are saying . I say it's the latter . The media in West Virginia tends to see the glass "half full " when evaluating all things WV. I thinks it's because it's easier to find positive things to report on so they can continue to have access to players and coaches . It seems like only MF asks the tough questions these days . I don't think this is a bad thing . I like the positive attitude and it is certainly getting the fan base fired up for the season . Prior to camp all we saw was the negativity by the national press and it bummed me out . But then camp opened and all the local journalists started to do stories on how good we look and how all the coaches and players are oozing with confidence and talent . It's the power of positive thinking .

  • Bobby M

    WOWL!!!!!! Fire up the train boys cos we gonna ride!!!!!

    Screem it with me! Lets go Mountaineers!

  • VaultHunter

    I love that everybody is sleeping on WVU.

    Cannot wait for the season to start.

    • JJ

      I'm sleeping on WVU and will sleep clear through Holgerson's firing.

      He's not the right guy. 7-6, 4-8 prove it.

  • nashville cat

    right now, i see us 1-3 to start the season, i see 9-3 predictions,,, i say, 6-6, we just have such a tuff schedule, and limited talent. I do think next yr. will be the turnaround yr,,,just can't see it happening this yr, just hope i'm proved wrong

  • nashville cat

    i remember when stew was HC and we rushed three,,, i felt so sorry for these guys, usually two of them were double teamed, and we just had no rush...

    hopefully things have changed, last yr was somewhat of a disaster on the D, and the pass rush was pretty much nonexistant.

    • fireLuck

      DLs job was to eat up the blockers so the backers could make the plays in the 3 man front. Pass rush seemed as though it lacked during his time but he still won enough games to play in the postseason.

  • Scourge

    With effective DLs, you get sacks in obvious third-down passing situations, but also on stunts and blitzes, to put the offense in obvious third-down situations.
    Sounds like we might have the capability this year to stunt and blitz successfully on early downs with these guys.

  • spiralninja

    This is definitely good news! WVU over Bama by two touchdowns!!! Let's GOOOO!