MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two games in, the West Virginia defense has given up just 17 total points. At the helm of that veteran defense is redshirt senior Kyle Rose.
Rose started out spring football in the worst way possible; running the bleachers at Milan Puskar Stadium and cleaning every inch of the WVU Football weight room following behavioral issues.
Since, Rose has matured into one of the most reliable tacklers on Tony Gibson’s stand-still squad. In the Mountaineers first two victories, Rose collected 12 tackles, second only to Nick Kwiatkoski.
Breaking down the Terrapins, Rose says their ability to protect the quarterback is superb.
“They’ve got a good solid five up front, they do a lot of good protection, they slide pretty well with the back and they max protect a bunch so we’re just gonna try to get after them like any other team,” he said.
Maryland will start quarterback Caleb Rowe against the Mountaineers. The Terrapins decided to give Rowe his second start on the season after their original starter, Perry Hills, had a shaky performance in their loss to Bowling Green.
The Maryland o-line has yet to allow a sack this season. According to Rose, coach Bruce Tall has put quite an emphasis on getting to the quarterback.
“It’s something we’ve really been harping on,” he said. “Coach Tall has really been working a lot more drills with us rushing with three cause we don’t really fall into the excuse of, “Hey, we’re rushing three, they’re blocking us with five,” and that means there’s number games they can win.”
Rose says the main goal is to “put pressure with three and drop eight”.
Much like West Virginia, Maryland’s offense lost a few productive wide receivers following last season including Stefon Diggs and Deon Long. After watching plenty of film, Rose believes the Terps passing game is still on point, along with their ability to run the ball.
“They can run the ball pretty well and they don’t give up sacks, so that’s two hard things we’re really gonna have to try and focus on,” he said, once again emphasizing how crucial defending the pass game will be come Saturday. “Pressure the quarterback and effect him, cause they’re starting with somebody new (Rowe), so they feel like with putting him in there, they can have a little bit more explosive plays.”
Redshirt junior Levern Jacobs leads the Terrapins receiving core with 13 catches.
The 2-1 Terrapins roll into Morgantown with wins coming against Richmond and USF and a loss to Bowling Green. Just like many Mountaineer players and coaches told the media on Tuesday afternoon, Rose also expressed the excitement that comes with playing a border-state rival.
“It’s our last non-conference game before we go into Big 12 so if we go 3-0 in our non-conference schedule, which is what we wanted to do, then it’ll set us up to be able to play Big 12 football so it’s an important one,” he said. “We’ve been playing them for a long time so it means a lot to the fans and it means a lot to us.”
(Cover Photo: Caleb Rowe, credit baltimoresun.com)