"Some of the schemes, I think, are overrated," Syracuse defensive coordinator Scott Shafer said. "You try to play a little harder than you did the play before and focus in on those things. The 1-on-1 matchups will be the big difference in the game and which guys play better than the guy over them."
That's been good to the Orange this season. The defense is No. 61 nationally in sacks per game, but also No. 10 in tackles for a loss per game. Hackett called it "the most insane defense ever."
"It's one of those things where it's not only aggressive, but it's hard to see where people are and where they're coming from," Hackett said. "They have people moving all over the place, so you keep an eye on everybody."
Smith's work with film will help, but only to a certain extent because Syracuse varies things so much. The defense can dress up one blitz a handful of different ways, but is also capable of trying something new.
"I expect that," Smith said. "I expect them to come out with their game plan, but they might also throw a few different things at us, maybe on the first third down, maybe on the first down. But they're going to throw something different at us.
"The thing is, once the game is in a flow of things, they'll probably go back to the old game plans and the things that have worked for them over the course of the season, which is them mixing up the blitzes and really putting pressure on the quarterback to recognize coverages and see the different blitzes and where they're coming from to put the offense in a better position."
Syracuse isn't as concerned with WVU's blitzing, because WVU doesn't blitz much, or the unexpected, because even Patterson admitted he can't make massive fundamental changes in the short amount of time he had before the game.
The Orange, who set school records of passing yards, attempts and completions this season and rank No. 21 nationally (301.6 yards per game) are instead intrigued by WVU's abysmal pass defense. The Mountaineers have improved to No. 119 nationally, but still allow 327.1 yards per game and still have concerns at cornerback, where many Big 12 opponents have aimed their focus this season.
"They've shown that they like to drop eight or nine guys into coverage," Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib said. "When it comes to that, it's a lot about discipline and not forcing the ball down the field, where they outnumber us in pass coverage. It's all about making good decisions."
Patterson promises to make that complicated and, in a way, borrow from Shafer's approach by using the unexpected to WVU's advantage in the 3-4 alignment.
"The whole premise of the defense is who is the fourth rusher?" Patterson said. "Is he coming from the field side? Is he coming inside? Is he coming from the boundary side? You have to be able to disguise that."
Still, most of Nassib's decisions will be made with patience, but most of Smith's will be made under duress. That's made a little more difficult playing with a new center. Jeff Braun, the starting right guard the entire season, will start at center in place of senior Joe Madsen, who had started the past 25 games and 50 of 51, but is academically ineligible. Pat Eger, who played his way out of the starting right tackle job after five games, will start at right guard.
"What we've got to do is stay out of bad situations," WVU offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "That's not any different than any other week when you go into a game and say you want to stay out of situations where you just pass, because they can tee off on you.
"They bring a different element to the game the way they bring pressure. Every team doesn't bring pressure like they do. They bring pressure in unorthodox ways and put more pressure on the protection. With that being said, if you stay in a situation where they keep you from being balanced and keep you in a situation where you're being very predictable and have to throw it, they're going to be very successful."