WVU football: Former Gonzaga point guard shines in Baylor's defensive backfield
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Expect Baylor cornerback Demetri Goodson to do fine if West Virginia tries any jump balls or pick plays Saturday.
Goodson, who starts for the Bears after playing in four games and suffering a season-ending ankle injury last season, played three seasons and started his last two as the point guard at Gonzaga.
"Football is an athletic sport and basketball is an athletic sport and an athlete can adjust and learn assignments and make plays," Baylor Coach Art Briles said. "That's the good thing about him. When we took him in a couple years ago, we thought he'd be an upgrade from an athletic standpoint and that he'd be able to make plays to open the field."
Goodson, who was born in Charleston, hadn't played football since his sophomore year at Collins High, in Klein, Texas, before picking it up again last year. He instead started 68 of 69 games as a sophomore and junior at Gonzaga, including a Bulldogs win against then-No. 9 Baylor in 2010.
He averaged 5.2 points and 2.6 assists in 2010-11 and totaled 529 points and 206 assists in his three seasons. The younger brother of Oakland Raiders running back Mike Goodson, Demetri figures to make his fourth straight start for No. 25 Baylor (3-0) in Saturday's game (noon, FX) against No. 9 WVU (3-0) at Mountaineer Field.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Goodson is sixth on the team with 16 tackles and has one interception.
"When you think about it, the point guard in basketball is handling the ball and playing defense and breaking down to play man-to-man defense," Briles said. "When you're playing cornerback in football, there are a lot of similarities that cross over. They isolate a guy on you. You've got to cover him on the field like you would on the court. It's not that hard to transfer over if you've got some good athletic ability, which Demetri does."
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The offensive nature of the Big 12 Conference and the games the teams play against one another force defensive coaches to tweak the way they view statistics, digest results and even group personnel.
They know their opponents are going to be good at moving the ball and scoring points, sometimes in a hurry, so the defensive coaches go in knowing they'll surrender big plays and touchdowns and that they'll sometimes have to use more people than normal just to cater to the tempo of the game and the toll that has on players.
WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said it has an effect on offensive coaches and the way they function in a game, too. An offensive coach engaged in a high-scoring game might get caught up in trying to help a struggling defense by calling plays more aggressively so that the offense can stay in the lead or remain competitive.
"If you're down, what do people do? What do people do when they're down 14 or 21 points?" he said. "The offenses get antsy and start pressing and start trying to make things happen quickly. I don't want to say that's the right thing, but I'd say it's human nature. I probably have to guard against that."
Holgorsen admitted after both of the first two games he made an emotional decision to go for a first down on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal against Marshall and punting against James Madison. He said the tempo of the Maryland game got the better of him, too.
WVU ran just seven plays in the first quarter. The Mountaineers punted on one drive, forced a turnover and returned the fumble for a touchdown on defense, forced a punt and then scored a touchdown in two plays on a second drive for a 14-0 lead.
"We got seven plays, and what they did in their three drives was they were huddling and getting over the ball and then waiting 30 seconds," Holgorsen said. "How they do that, I don't know. That is hard to watch.
"I got impatient and then they scored a couple of times and it was 14-14. We ran seven plays in one quarter and I got impatient. I don't know if I called the best game based on that, but based on the way the game goes, that is how you call the game."
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After reviewing the performance against Maryland, WVU's offensive line felt better about the way it played. Still, center Joe Madsen said the group was "really average" and had some trouble communicating calls up front to better block the Terrapins.
Madsen likened Baylor to Maryland with a mix up front of speed players and bigger players who are powerful off the ball, as well as a tendency to blitz from the second level. The Terrapins sacked quarterback Geno Smith twice, hit him a few more times and had pretty consistent pressure when they tried.
"I think we did really good," Madsen said. "We had a few mixups. A few people came free. Some of that is the line and some of that is the backs, but we've all got to take responsibility for it. We'll get better, but all in all I thought we did really well."
WVU ran the ball 19 times for 41 yards, but Smith's two sacks and four scrambles gave WVU 25 rushes for 25 yards. That was the lowest rushing total since negative-10 yards in a 1996 loss to Syracuse and the lowest in a win since getting 16 yards in a 16-6 win against Virginia Tech in 1982.
"We try to average one yard a carry, so I think that's pretty good," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said.
In reality, though, WVU had been No. 2 nationally averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Dawson said the Mountaineers weren't off by much against the Terrapins and their timely tackles.
"You can watch the field and see what you see and what everyone else sees and that's basically a stat sheet that says 25 for 25," Dawson said. "What it doesn't show is much like what a golf scorecard doesn't show. It doesn't have pictures, so a par can look a lot of different ways. You can chip in for par and you can have a birdie putt you tap in for par.
"There were a few times where if one guy finishes his block and their guys don't get their hands out, we're out on a safety in space. Like for our five times that happened, but it just so happened they made the play whenever the situation occurred. We didn't get it done."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.