High School Football

Texas Tech’s 121st-ranked run defense hasn’t stopped anyone this season

Arkansas running back Alex Collins (3) carries the ball against the Texas Tech defense during the Razorbacks’ win at Lubbock last month.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia coaches doled out 640 pounds’ worth of Offensive Team Champion praise this week, splitting the award between guards Mark Glowinski and Quinton Spain for their blocking in the 33-14 win over Kansas.

“It’s about time,” Spain joked Tuesday. “You feel like all that hard work is paying off.”

Dana Holgorsen certainly noticed, crediting the senior linemen for “playing at a different level.”

After running for 255 yards against the Jayhawks and averaging 6.1 per carry, West Virginia (3-2, 1-1) now encounters the Big 12’s softest rushing defense. Texas Tech (2-3, 0-2) forced out defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt on Sept. 18 after he reportedly came to the football facility under the influence of an unknown substance. That strange scenario followed Tech giving up 438 yards on the ground and seven rushing scores in a 49-28 home loss to Arkansas.

Earlier in the season in a 30-26 close call at UTEP, the Red Raiders allowed 277 yards running and 5.3 per attempt. Since Mike Smith took over as interim coordinator, Texas Tech has been marginally better against the run, though Oklahoma State and Kansas State responded by averaging 330 yards through the air with a combined eight touchdown passes.

The Red Raiders’ rush defense still allows 257 yards per game and has surrendered 17 touchdowns. Both stats rank 121st out of 125 FBS teams.

Claymation: H-back Cody Clay was a crucial contributor to West Virginia’s rushing success against Kansas, winning most of the physical battles against All-Big 12 linebacker Ben Heeney.

“He really took the linebacker No. 31 out of the game,” said Mountaineers running backs coach JaJuan Seider. “That guy was talking throughout the week about how they were going to come here and get a win, and you know we hear everything.

“I wanted Cody to physically kick his butt the whole game. I said ‘I don’t care if you don’t catch a pass, I want you to wear him out.’ And I thought Cody was the most physical that I’ve seen him in the last two years I’ve been coaching.”

Heeney made six tackles, about half his average entering the game.

“I can’t say enough about Cody Clay,” Holgorsen said Tuesday. “He plays with tremendous effort and had his best game to date last week for sure. You could have easily gave him the player of the week.”

Coaches crack up over WV wrestlemania: The YouTube video of West Virginia players engaging in a tag-team free-for-all seemed to go over well with the staff.

“I kind of got a kick out of it,” said defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, who had no idea the locker room held such entertainment until he saw the video making viral rounds. “I go through the locker room and make sure the kids are good, but obviously they’re not going to do that in front of us.

“It was a good laugh. It shows the guys like each other, and at least they’re hanging out and spending time together. I don’t know if it was quality time, but at lead they were spending time.”

Early buzz surrounding the video had Seider worried, until scenes of fake roundhouse punches, crutch-whipping and one player being dumped into a laundry cart ultimately left him giggling.

“At first you’re always cautious, like ‘Aw man, what do have we to deal with now? Dana’s fixing to call us in,'” he said. “But it shows why we are close, why we have a good locker room.

“I can’t wait for Part II when they bring The Undertaker out. I told Big Mike (Calicchio) he’s going to be Undertaker, because that guy’s retiring. Mike can take that role.”

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