"It's, 'All right, we're going to run the ball. Line up and stop it.' I feel like that's the mentality we're starting to take on."
Part of that is because of the running backs. The Mountaineers are in the rare situation where they have the returning rusher from the 2011 season and the 2012 season, though in different jerseys. Dustin Garrison, who led WVU with 742 yards in 2011 before tearing his ACL and battling that all of last season, is alongside Buie, who was tops in 2012 with 851 yards.
The similarly capable, similarly sized Buie (5-foot-9, 190 pounds) and Garrison (5-8, 185) make room for junior college transfer Dreamius Smith (5-11, 225). He had 982 yards and averaged 8.2 yards per carry last season at Butler Community College. His 17 touchdowns in 2012 trumps the combined career total of Buie (eight) and Garrison (eight).
"Each runner is going to get you his own style, just like we all carry the ball our own, different way," Buie said. "It's not like you get a back and he's good and then there's a drop-off and then there's another drop-off. I don't feel like across the board there's much of a drop-off between the three. We've got three quality starting backs and going back-to-back-to-back is going to be tough on a defense."
The Mountaineers do not boast the same past productivity on the offensive line, but it's not a terrible time to find two guards and a center when everyone on the line is learning new ways from a new coach. Though it will change as Crook narrows his pool of players and gets closer to the start of the season, right now the new ways seem to be more about attitude than design.
"It's the same plays," Buie said. "Honestly."
The difference is in how the Mountaineers intend to run those plays Saturday and beyond. Buie said the linemen are more aggressive during runs and it's rubbing off on the running backs.
"The run game mentality is way different now," he said. "If your linemen set the tone that they're going to be here all day and they're going to work them over, then as a running back you start to get that extra confidence. When you feel confident in the guys in front of you that they're going to get the job done, you're going to run that much harder because you trust that that guy is not going to be in your way when you get the ball."
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SATURDAY'S GAME will be televised on WOWK (Charleston/Huntington), WBOY (Clarksburg/Morgantown), WTRF (Wheeling/Steubenville, Ohio) and WVNS (Beckley/Bluefield).
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.