MORGANTOWN - If West Virginia's defense was in any position at all to lick its chops at the prospect of what it will soon face, this would be that time.
Of course, given the wholly uncertain nature of the Mountaineers' defense, that's not the case.
This is a group that breathes a sigh of relief at almost every success, at least for now. That's just the way things are as WVU transitions to a new scheme with new players and new coaches. Every game is not only a learning process, but an adventure unto itself.
Still, one has to like the Mountaineers' chances when turning loose a defense whose primary goal is to create havoc and turnovers against a team with a true freshman quarterback playing in a hostile environment. And that's what the No. 8 Mountaineers (2-0) face at noon Saturday at Mountaineer Field against Maryland (2-1) and Perry Hills.
Confuse the young man as much as possible and try to take him out of his comfort zone.
"I think that holds true with anyone, with any quarterback,'' WVU defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said. "You want to show him [different] looks, go from one thing to another, give him pressure. So yeah, the more looks we can give him and the more confused we hope we can get him, the better.''
In Hills, the Mountaineers will face a quarterback who has already had his ups and downs after just three games.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Pittsburgh was thrust into the starting job when two things happened to Maryland's depth chart. First, Danny O'Brien transferred to Wisconsin. Then C.J. Brown blew out a knee midway through August camp.
In the team's opener against William & Mary, Hills threw three interceptions and the Terps struggled mightily. He recovered enough to finally lead a fourth-quarter scoring drive and give Maryland a 7-6 win.
In the second game at Temple, he was named the ACC rookie of the week after passing for 190 yards and two touchdowns and running for another score in a 36-27 win.
But then last week at home against Connecticut, Hills was sacked six times and was just 10-for-24 passing in a 24-21 loss.