Iowa St West Virginia Football

West Virginia wide receiver Gary Jennings (12) avoids Iowa State's D'Andre Payne (1) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State.

Despite WVU’s victory over then-No. 14 Iowa State, there was some grumbling from the fan base over the Mountaineer offense.

The unit scored just 20 points. It ran the ball 47 times and passed but 25.

Yet here are the facts. West Virginia’s scoring offense sits at No. 11 nationally, averaging 40.2 points. In total offense, the team is No. 7, averaging 516.3 yards. In passing offense, it is No. 6, averaging 349.9 yards. Quarterback Will Grier is No. 4 in passing at 340.9 yards.

And Mountaineer receivers coach Tyron Carrier said his group is back after a messy Oklahoma State game.

“I think we called them out and they became more physical on the perimeter,” Carrier said. “That’s the biggest thing. I always preach about being very physical whenever possible. It helps with the route running aspect because the defender doesn’t know if you’re running by or coming to beat them up again.”

WVU’s David Sills added to his No. 1 ranking as the nation’s leader in touchdown receptions (16), but was held to two catches for 12 yards and the score. Carrier said that’s because ISU concentrated on taking the junior out of the WVU game plan.

“I told him three weeks ago that was going to start happening,” Carrier said. “And it’s been happening. I told him, ‘Kudos. You’re a guy now.’ ”

Carrier explained how teams are attacking Sills.

“They’re doing a little box coverage. They’re always putting someone over the top of him so he can’t beat anybody deep. They play hard inside of him.”

While that was happening against ISU, though, Ka’Raun White had 167 yards receiving and a score. Gary Jennings had seven catches for 63 yards. Marcus Simms had four catches for 52 yards.

“They’re taking turns,” Carrier said. “Gary [Jennings] got a lot of [attention] early in the season. Now David is getting it. I’m pretty sure Ka’Raun is going to start getting it soon.”

The receivers coach, by the way, said yes, he’s seeing progress behind the four first-line receivers.

“Reggie [Roberson] has picked up a lot,” Carrier said. “Ricky Rogers got in and played his butt off. It’s still a development process for the other guys.”

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If you follow WVU’s Carrier on Twitter, you’ll notice his profile has the hashtag of TIUU. According to him, that stands for “Throw It Up University.”“The last place I was at [as a graduate assistant at Baylor] everyone said ‘Receiver U,’” Carrier said. “That’s what they said here too and I said, ‘Nah, let’s switch it up.’ Well, right after that, a couple balls were thrown bad and [the receivers] said something and I said, ‘Wherever the ball is thrown, it’s ours.’ So we got to the point last year where we just told Skyler [Howard] to throw it up and they’d go make the play.”

Carrier then smiled about the hashtag.

“Actually, Logan Holgorsen helped me with that,” said the coach, pointing to head coach Dana Holgorsen’s son. “I’ll have to give him a shout out because he helped me come up with it.”

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WVU’s upcoming opponent, Kansas State, has passed just 192 times this season while running the ball 349 times.Mountaineer cornerbacks coach Doug Belk was jokingly asked if that meant his players can take the week off.

“Oh no,” he said. “These [KSU] guys are really good on the outside, No. 9 [Byron Pringle], No. 7 [Isaiah Zuber], No. 83 [Dalton Schoen] … they have a nice unit. It’ll be a nice challenge for us — along with tackling these running backs and quarterbacks when they run on the perimeter.”

Zuber leads K-State in receptions (38) while Pringle leads in receiving yards (511).

Kansas State is averaging 21 passes a game, which includes three overtime periods. That’s not much in a pass-happy Big 12.

“You see teams in this league that throw the ball 50, 60 times a game and then you see this run-based team,” Belk said. “But that’s the beauty of college football. It’s coaching; it’s playing; it’s adapting to different styles. And then getting the players prepared for whichever team you’re playing.”

Mitch Vingle can be reached at 304-348-4827 or mitchvingle@wvgazette.com. Follow him on Twitter@MitchVingle.