’Eers looking for more ‘ups’ than ‘downs’ against Panthers

MORGANTOWN-Oh, the ups and downs of playing football at the NCAA Division I level.

Butler Community College transfer Dreamius Smith experienced both last Saturday during the Mountaineers’ 16-7 setback at No. 15 Oklahoma. The 5-11, 221-pound junior felt the highs when he galloped 75-yards for WVU’s only score of the night, and the lows when a missed block resulted in a fumble that killed a possible scoring drive and earned him a seat on the bench for much of the remainder of the game.

“The offensive line did a great job of opening up a hole, and I stuck my foot in the ground and got vertical to make the play,” Smith said. “It was a blessing to get in there my first time at West Virginia, and I just wanted to celebrate and let them know it was the first touchdown.”

Smith’s only other carry of the night, however, went for only 2 yards.

“I missed a block that caused a turnover, and I take all the responsibility for that,” continued the player. “Blocking is an area I am working to improve on. Once my blocking improves, the more carries I can get it sounds like. It is a strong part of the game.

“Everybody needs to be able to block well and that is a part I am working on day in and day out in practice and during individual workouts.”

And will be a key if WVU is to improve to 2-1 on the season against a Georgia State defense that is surrendering 253 yards per game on the ground.

“We has opportunities, no doubt,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. “We had a bunch of guys that did not make plays. We had opportunities to win the game, but obviously that game is over with and now you move on.

“We had guys that we put in position to make plays, and they need to step up.”

That includes on the offensive front as well as at wide receiver.

“There’s potential on offense and that word disturbs me,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I don’t like it very much, but there is potential on offense. A lot of people talk about how talented we are, even guys on our team talk about how talented we are. We need to prove that, we need to make some plays.

“You need to make plays when you are put into those situations, and if you don’t, we will try and put some other guys in those situations. We will get better offensively. We have gotten better defensively. At center, Pat (Eger) has been playing really well, as good as I’ve seen him play. He’s one of the few very vocal leaders we have on offense, he deserves to start.”

And, start the 6-6, 305-pounder will do when Georgia State comes to Mountaineer Field for a noon kickoff on Saturday.

“I got to play two series at center last week,” Eger said. “It was the first time I have ever played center in a college game, but I was happy all my snaps were good. That was the biggest thing I was worried about. I played smart and played fast. My natural position is wherever I need to play to help the team win.”

And, the Pleasant Hills, Pa. native has played all three-center, guard and tackle-thus far this season.

“I’m happy with that,” Holgorsen added. “Ron (Crook) does a great job of rotating people in there. We can get (Nick) Kindler in there, and he helps Quinton Spain take a step back and catch a breath, and he does the same thing for (Curtis) Feigt on the other side. Eger can play in all three spots.”

Something that is happening on the defensive line as well.

“We really don’t have ones and twos,” redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Kyle Rose said. “We all rotate in and everybody gets a chance to contribute. Any chance we get to make a play we’re all out there doing our job.”

A job made a little tougher this week with a Georgia State offense that likes to throw the ball-a lot.

“They’re a good team,” Rose continued. “They’re pretty explosive and have some good skill guys. The line is pretty solid and No. 2 has been making some pretty good plays. This is our first day game planning for them. You can never take a team lightly. Anybody, nowadays, can beat anybody.”