MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Saturday’s senior day matchup against Texas marks the final home game for Ka’Raun and Kyzir White, closing out a family run of five seasons at West Virginia, dating back to their older brother Kevin.
“This is the end of the White Era, and that’s sad,” Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday. “But I have a great relationship with their dad and he says there’s cousins coming. That should get everyone fired up.”
Ka’Raun White confirmed the pipeline hasn’t dried up, telling fans to watch out for his nephew Jameel Sanders, a ninth-grader at Emmaus High in eastern Pennsylvania.
“He’s pretty good at receiver but he loves to hit. He’s another Kyzir. Even wears Kyzir’s No. 8. He’s pretty legit. The others are in still in elementary school and middle school, so you’ve got a little while.”
Gibson on third-down stops
Tony Gibson’s defense owns the statistical abnormality of being ranked 102nd nationally (allowing 436 yards per game) but No. 25 on third-down stops (32 percent). He credited the 3-3-5 stack for staying aggressive on third downs and not being afraid to afraid to blitz.
“I think we take more chances than most people on third down, attack the quarterback and try to have him throw it quick,” Gibson said. “Some people don’t believe in that philosophy, but it’s in our DNA.”
Receivers great but inconsistent
West Virginia assistant Tyron Carrier has trouble reconciling how his receivers frequently mix highlight grabs with dropped passes.The 28-23 win over Kansas State provided more frustrating examples.
David Sills lunged out of bounds for a you-had-to-replay-it-to-believe-it touchdown, but then let a wide-open third-down throw slip through his hands. Gary Jennings made a leaping 43-yard grab in traffic, yet dropped an easy third-and-5 crossing route.
“We make the tough ones and not the ones that are easy,” Carrier said.
Marcus Simms and Ka’Raun White each had catchable passes deflect off their hands for interceptions.
“They worked technique and got open by facing man coverage, but it was more about just catching the ball,” Carrier said. “Those are just routine plays we have to make.”
Benton: ‘My bad’ on offside
Mike linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton, flagged for being offside on a blitz at K-State, was certain the center flinched. After making his case to the official (unsuccessfully), he tried to convince Gibson that “the center moved the ball a little bit, like he got overzealous.”
Turns out, Benton was wrong. And he admits it.
“I’m usually good with trying to jump the snap,” he said. “But we watched the film and Gibby rewound it like four or five times, and he didn’t move the ball. It was a mistake on my behalf.”
Horns’ top lineman Williams may return
Texas left tackle Connor Williams is practicing this week, hopeful of returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for seven games.
Still being hyped as a first-rounder should he enter the NFL draft early, Williams could reinforce the Texas running game. But Holgorsen dismissed a question from a Charleston reporter about how Williams could affect Saturday’s game.
“You’re talking about a top-five pick that’s an All-American and all that stuff, (but) how is that going to change the game? I don’t know how it’s going to change the game,” Holgorsen said. “They’re expecting all of their guys to block, are they not? I don’t think they’re going to hand it to him, and I doubt he’s going to throw it. Maybe they’ll run a screen and throw it to him, I don’t know.
“He’s a good player, and I’m glad he’s healthy and is going to be able to play.”
Senior Day reflections
Fifth-year fullback Elijah Wellman, a Huntington native and one of the team’s permanent captains, is preparing for his 49th game as a Mountaineer on Saturday.
“It’s coming to an end and I wish it wasn’t,” he said. “This week, I’m going to enjoy it and, come this Saturday, we’re going to try and sing ‘Country Roads’ after the game. I’m excited to see that, get out there with my teammates one last time in front of Mountaineer Field and see if we can get a win to send us out the right way.”
Offensive lineman Kyle Bosch, a third-year starter after transferring from Michigan, anticipates an emotional home finale.
“My mother will be a wreck, she’ll be crying,” he said. “If my dad starts crying, I don’t know how in the hell that’s going to go.”