Unlike West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who makes pre-snap adjustments and changes on almost every play, Nassib doesn't necessarily do that, said SU offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
"He just calls it and goes,'' Hackett said. "In the past couple of years we did more of that - changing, checking, he was running the whole show. This year we just go as fast as we possibly can. Ryan has the play, calls it and runs it before [defenses] can adjust anything. Then it's just him adjusting on the fly, reacting to the defense [after the snap] and going.''
On the other side of the ball, West Virginia will be facing a Syracuse team that has given it fits in recent years. The Mountaineers won eight straight over the Orange while both teams were in the Big East, but Syracuse won the last two games. Not only that, the Orange held West Virginia to a combined 37 points in those two games.
Last year Syracuse did it by blitzing Smith and having success in either sacking him or forcing him to throw too soon. West Virginia will try to combat that today in part with better protection, but that became problematic when four-year starting center Joe Madsen was declared academically ineligible.
If the Mountaineers can contain that pass rush, it will be a chance for Smith and receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey to go out with a bang. Those three hold virtually every significant passing and receiving record in school history and all will be playing their last college game.
Rather than count on big plays from those three, though, West Virginia offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson would be happy with just getting first downs and moving the football. Because of that blitzing style, Syracuse is one of the best teams in the country at creating negative plays.
"The biggest thing for us is just to keep the ball in front of the chains,'' Dawson said. "They're 10th or 11th in the country in negative-yardage plays, which forces you to do things they know you have to do. We have to be in situations where we can keep them off balance. If they can get you in situations where it's a 100 percent passing down, we'll have no success.
"That's why they're so successful blitzing. They get you in second-and-15 or third-and-11 and they know what you have to do. Then they can bring all that pressure from all those angles and be successful.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.