The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

September 15, 2009

’Eers set for first road test

West Virginia will get its first taste of the road when it travels to Auburn to play the Tigers of the SEC Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 7:45 p.m.

Auburn is 2-0 and is coming off a 49-24 throttling of SEC foe Ole Miss.

New coach Gene Chizik has installed a new spread-type offense and the results have been immediate.

The Tigers are second in the nation in rushing offense (345.5 yards per game) and they’re the only team in the nation to have two players averaging over 100 yards rushing per game (Ben Tate is seventh nationally at 137, and freshman Onterio McCalebb is averaging 196 all-purpose yards per game).

The Tigers still run a version of the wildcat, made famous by former Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. But they aren’t afraid to run it with a quarterback.

“(The wildcat) is dynamic because you have to prepare for it, and it takes away from actual preparation,” WVU coach Bill Stewart said. “If you’re at Auburn, and you put Chris Todd in there, and all of the sudden Kodi Burns comes in, as a defense you have to switch gears. Remember, Kodi can pass the ball as well.

“One guy may pass the ball better, and one guy may run the ball better, but when you have them on the field at the same time, the defenses can’t match up personnel. That’s why, if you bring a slotback in, you can’t match up well. It gives you problems.”

Stewart said Chizik’s 2-0 start at Auburn is a credit to the new man in charge.

“Gene is a heck of a football coach, and he deserves that Auburn job,” Stewart said. “From what I’ve seen, he’s doing a good job. From what I’ve seen, Gene is going to win a lot of football games at Auburn; I just hope he doesn’t win his third game.”

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