The Sock 'Em, Bust 'Em Board Because that's our custom

If you can’t join them, mimic them

Victor Anderson once gave a verbal commitment to West Virginia’s football staff and it was an interesting recruiting battle because Anderson was a star running back at St. Xavier, in Louisville, Ky., and ultimately decided to commit to and sign with the Louisville Cardinals some time later.

Well, Anderson is still at Louisville and, despite injuries and suspensions in the backfield this season, he has yet to see any playing time and will instead redshirt.

That is not to say he isn’t helping the Cardinals in hopes they might hurt the Mountaineers tonight. Anderson played the part of WVU running back Steve Slaton in practice this week. Josh Miller, a freshman receiver, impersonated WVU quarterback Patrick White.

Miller and Anderson, the St. Xavier High School product, give U of L’s defense a model to work against in practice. But whether the Cardinals (5-4, 2-2 Big East Conference) can stop the real thing Thursday night in Morgantown is another story.

Every team that plays the No. 6 Mountaineers (7-1, 2-1) tries to figure out a way to slow White and Slaton. Hardly anyone succeeds. They’re the catalysts for an offense that averages 40.8 points and 298 rushing yards per game.

 This is not a new idea by any means and is only noteworthy because of the link between Anderson and WVU and the irony that WVU liked Anderson in a Slaton role and Louisville is now using Anderson is a Slaton role. Still, teams try this stuff all the time and the numbers certainly indicate stopping the Mountaineers is far more complex than imitating them in practice.

Miller and Anderson can replicate the duo’s speed in practice, but it’s hard for the scout team offense to mimic all the blocking schemes and combinations that set them free, Kragthorpe said. U of L will have had 12 days to get ready for Slaton, White & Co., but there’s only so much that film study, practice and celebrity impersonations can do.