MORGANTOWN - Dave Clawson knows when he peels those layers of orange and brown off of his Bowling Green football players, there is still a lot of green.
Still, the Falcons have started off 3-1 this season with a team that features a roster of 54 true and red-shirt freshman and 27 sophomores. Eighteen of those freshmen are in the two-deep playing rotation, as are 17 of those sophomores.
"The whole key is to get them to go a hundred miles an hour," Clawson said. "Some times they might not go in the right direction. But when you get them playing hard, you can some times cover up the technical mistakes they are making."
The Inter-Mountain John Wickline
West Virginia’s offense will go up against a young Bowling Green defensive secondary on Saturday.
The Falcons started three freshmen in their defensive secondary last week against Miami (Ohio) and still pulled off a 37-23 win on the road.
"Not only did those guys hold up, they made plays," Clawson said.
But those youngsters will be tested severely by a veteran group of wide receivers Saturday when Bowling Green comes to Morgantown for a 3:30 p.m. game with West Virginia University that will be televised on the Big East Conference Network.
"They're young, and that's a big thing to know," Mountaineer receiver Stedman Bailey said.
"They play pretty physical, so they are (somebody) we can't take lightly. We have to play them the same way we played LSU."
Quarterback Geno Smith has already thrown for nearly 1,500 yards in just four games, more than half of his total reached in 2010 in 13 games. He has hit nine different pass catchers, led by Tavon Austin with 31 catches. Ivan McCartney and Stedman Bailey have each caught 23. Both Bailey and Austin have gone over 100 yards in receiving the past two games, and Devon Brown and McCartney have had 100-yard games.
Even tight end-turned-receiver Tyler Urban has been productive with his opportunities, as two of his seven catches have resulted in touchdowns.
"We've had guys step up, and we want those guys to lead and be consistent as a group," Smith said. "We have to get the ball into our playmakers' hands.
It (depends) on what the defense gives us and who is getting open, and those guys have been getting open."