"He's always been good," Smith said. "Copeland's a guy that's really been improving the last few weeks so the coaches figured why not put him in."
Conventional wisdom might lead one to believe playing an inexperienced freshman in a vital role on one of the nation's best offensive units coming off its worst showing of the season could prove problematic, but Smith said there is no change in the team's mentality despite the loss to the Red Raiders and the potential loss of Bailey against K-State.
"We've always had the same mentality and we're not going to let one loss have us lose sight of what we are, and that's a good team," he said. "We had a bad game but days like that happen."
While the West Virginia offense appears to have put the Texas Tech game in the past and has said it is ready to move on, there is still the minor detail of combating the Kansas State defense.
K-State has been one of the stronger defensive units in the Big 12 so far this season, allowing 16.5 points and 342.2 yards per game. The Mountaineers know they're in for a fight Saturday but do have the advantage of playing at home under lights in front of a frenzied Mountaineer Field crowd.
Smith, however, said the opponent, time, location and the television cameras do not matter to him. He just wants to get back on the field and the team back to its winning ways.
"I'm looking forward to another opportunity to play," he said. "I block those things out of my mind. I could care less about where we play or what time it is. When we step on that field and the whistle is blown we've got a job to do and that's the only thing I worry about."
In K-State's win earlier this season against Oklahoma, the Wildcats were able to put pressure on Sooner quarterback Landry Jones with the occasional blitz in addition to a standard pass rush. That pressure forced Jones into throwing an interception and fumbling a ball that was returned for a touchdown by the Wildcats' Jarell Childs.
"They're a physical group and they're assignment sound," Braun said. "They love to hit you in the mouth. Their linebackers are very good - some of the best we've seen - so I expect them to play hard."
Reach Tom Bragg at tom.br...@wvgazette.com.