Former Oklahoma State special teams coach Joe DeForest left to become Dana Holgorsen's defensive coordinator at West Virginia. DeForest's defense will be in the spotlight during the Mountaineers' first Big 12 game.
Most project a shoot-out Saturday when West Virginia hosts Baylor in Morgantown.
“The mentality you need on defense is you need a short memory,” Holgorsen said. “That's one of the reasons Joe DeForest is here. There are so many good offenses in the Big 12. Baylor has a great offense ... If you give up a couple of plays or touchdowns, you have to focus to get a key stop.”
Baylor and West Virginia are averaging a combined 99 points and nearly 1,100 yards a game.
“Offensively, we just played OK last week,” Holgorsen said. “If you play just OK against an offense like Baylor, then you're probably not going to have enough points to win. You have to be prepared for (a shoot-out).”
Baylor coach Art Briles said you can't go into a game expecting a shoot-out.
“We're certainly not going in thinking it's going to go one way or another,” Briles said. “You never know.”
LONGHORNS FAMILIAR WITH WALSH
Texas is preparing for both Oklahoma State quarterbacks, Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh. But Longhorns coach Mack Brown said the primary focus is containing OSU's ground attack, which ranks in the top five nationally (308.3 rushing yards a game).
Brown said if Walsh plays as expected, he poses different challenges.
“J.W. can give you the dual threat,” Brown said. “He's more like Zac Robinson. He can run the ball. He's tough, a coach's kid. He can beat you with his arm or his feet.”
INTERESTING MATCHUP IN AMES
Iowa State and Texas Tech are both 3-0.
Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said this is his best team his three seasons in Lubbock. Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said this is his best team in four seasons in Ames.
“Where that stacks up in 2012 against the Big 12, until you start seeing film of all of them, you don't know,” Rhoads said. “I know this is Tommy's best team. He has talent on both sides of the ball.”
Texas Tech hasn't played a quality opponent, but the Red Raiders have been so dominant that starters haven't played much in the second half of the first three games. Tech ranks No. 1 nationally in total offense (597.7), No. 2 nationally in total defense (160.3).
“The biggest difference is we have more speed than we've had on both sides of the ball,” Tuberville said. “That usually makes up for a lot of mistakes that you make during a game or a season. We definitely have more athletes on both sides of the ball.”
Neither team is a threat to win the conference title, but both probably are underrated. Each is capable of an upset or two, especially at home. The winner of the matchup in Ames will be a step closer to being bowl eligible.
BYE WEEK GOOD FOR WILDCATS
One benefit to a bye week is Kansas State won't fall into the trap of “an emotional letdown” following a statement road win at Oklahoma.
“Everybody wants to pat them on the back, not that they're not deserving of accolades,” said K-State coach Bill Snyder. “It's harder in this day and age to keep things in perspective. (Just) keep sawing wood.”
The 'Cats embrace the underdog role, but K-State has vaulted into the top 10 in national polls.
“I'm going to have to get back on the coaches poll so I can get us down in the rankings,” Snyder quipped. “There is a lot of credence to (avoiding a letdown). We have to have a lot of leadership from within and understand how to put things in perspective.”