JT Daniel’s mental game, trust of WR core a factor ahead of Kansas
“JT is even keeled,” - Neal Brown on Daniels’ performance v Pitt
MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - When asked how JT Daniels looked against Pitt, the common thread seemed to be the way that he was able to shake off bad moments. For coach Brown, this was something he saw coming.
“One thing about it that I really felt like going in,” said coach Brown on his evaluation of JT prior to week one. “Until you play a game with someone, you don’t truly know. I felt like he’d be even keeled. I didn’t think a hit would bother him or a dropped pass or a setback. he was really even keeled.”
The ability to take a hit, watch a dropped ball or have a setback on offense and focus solely on the next drive is not something many players have in their toolset. For Daniels, though, he says it comes from experience.
“I never really track it,” said Daniels when asked about if Pitt was the most he had been hit. “The quarterback is going to take hits. You don’t really realize it. It’s gotten easier over the years. Things move too fast to realize it.”
With the mental game in mind, the offense has seemed to rally behind Daniel’s ability to maintain progression. Despite a late game interception against Pitt, the team put a drive together immediately after that was one yard and an overturned catch away from tying the game up.
“I think we did a lot of good things. There’s a few small things, execution, that we need to clean up,” said Daniels. “I think we did a lot of great things all around.”
The talk of the town for Daniels’ progression has been about his chemistry with his WR room, but Daniels has trust in his receivers, especially Bryce Ford-Wheaton.
“There’s certain nuances that you learn the more you play with people,” said Daniels when asked about chemistry. “But there’s nothing that there is a huge learning curve for. Once you’ve done it enough, you’ve done it enough. I’ve never had issues with receivers that I have played with where I have trust issues with where they’re going to be. I just took with the trust and they’ve been there.”
That trust has found Bryce Ford-Wheaton. He led WVU in receiving and scored two touchdowns, both of which came in back-shoulder looks in single coverage against Pitt.
On one play early in the contest, Daniels received a high snap, forcing him out of the pocket. Even still, despite what should have been a broken play, Daniels found Ford-Wheaton downfield for a back-shoulder pass in single coverage, gaining a first down.
The connection looks like it could force teams that watch film to stay away from pressing Bryce Ford-Wheaton.
“I don’t think anyone can press Bryce or KP. If I get a chance where I know it will be a one-on-one, that’s about as good of a situation that I can ask for. It’s the same thing on the second fade to Bryce. If I know that it will be a press man one-on-one throw, I’ll live and die by Bryce winning one-on-ones.”
The Mountaineers had 6 drops in week one vs Pitt, a sign that Daniels could have games even more explosive if things go his way.
“We dropped 6 balls for probably 100 plus yards. If you’re sitting there looking at his stats. You put those passes in with his yards. That’s a wild type of game,” said coach Brown.
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