West Virginia redshirt junior cornerback Terrell Chestnut, who earned the start at cornerback following Ishmael Banks’ suspension to begin the season, feels ready for the Mountaineers’ season opener against the second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game Saturday.
“It’s very exciting,” Chestnut said. “It came quick, but it’s a great opportunity to go out there and play a game against a top team. It’s going to be a great challenge.” After taking a redshirt as a true freshman in 2010, Chestnut has seen increasing action over the past two seasons, playing in six games and starting three in 2012 and playing in 10 of 12 games last season.
“I have to be poised and try to keep everybody calm. We play the game. They put on pants just like we put ours on. We have to play the game and not play the name. That’s what we have to do.”
With Alabama being the highest ranked opponent since West Virginia’s game against the second-ranked LSU Tigers in 2011, the challenge will be great this Saturday, but Chestnut will be prepared for what can be a generic scheme for the Crimson Tide in an era of elaborate offenses dominating college football.
“They are very methodical in what they do. They don’t try to do anything special,” Chestnut said. “They stick to what they do. They have a great team. It’s going to be a challenge, but we are ready.”
Looking deeper into Chestnut’s comment about the Alabama offense, the Crimson Tide’s final rankings have been great for the style of offense Nick Saban and the coaching staff runs in the Tuscaloosa, 25th in rushing offense and 49th in passing offense nationally, but not exactly numbers that light up scoreboards like other teams.
Chestnut will be ready for whoever earns the starting job for Alabama between senior Blake Sims and junior transfer Jake Coker to help continue the team’s success during the Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron eras.
“Sims is a very athletic quarterback. He can scramble and has a strong arm. I can’t think of the other quarterback’s name,” he said. “(Coker) has a good arm too. He is 6’5 – not so mobile. Whoever gets the starting job is going to be ready for us, and we have to prepare for them.”
Chestnut and the rest of the team knows how important Saturday’s game is now just three days from kickoff and the hype for the game at its highest for what can be an important afternoon for the West Virginia football program.
“Everyone is tuned in and aware of who we are playing,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s not about Alabama – it’s about West Virginia.”