MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Jaylen Anderson looked comfortable in Stillwater on Saturday.
The freshman running back led West Virginia to a win at rainy Boone Pickens Stadium, dashing for a pair of long touchdowns and tallying 155 rushing yards. He said after the game that he had finally gotten acquainted with the game’s speed.
“It just felt slower and I could take whatever the defense gave me,” Anderson said.
Even though Anderson is a redshirt freshman, it has been a long road to get to this point. He arrived on campus in September 2021, so he missed all of WVU’s fall camp ahead of his freshman campaign. That is a crucial part of the calendar for incoming freshmen, helping them adjust to the college game.
That acclimation is especially important for running backs in WVU’s zone run scheme. Compared to other schemes, backs are required to be creative and find their own holes in a zone. For newcomers, that can be especially difficult. That wasn’t an issue for Anderson.
The Ohioan watched his first season from the sideline and took a redshirt. The next campaign in 2022 didn’t look much different as he began as the No. 4 running back on the depth chart.
“Mentally, it was tough seeing other guys ahead of me,” Anderson said. “Those guys did a good job of just keeping me above water and telling me my time will come, and it came.”
Anderson also credited running backs coach Chad Scott. The energetic assistant is the frequent target of praise from his players and other coaches as he has routinely succeeded in developing solid ball carriers for the Mountaineers.
In fact, Anderson said that nobody was more excited about his first touchdown than Scott, who sprinted down the sideline as the redshirt freshman found the end zone.
“He does such a good job with us and he’s on top of us continuously,” Anderson said. “He’s an amazing coach.”
All that patience and work paid off on Saturday when Anderson saw an endless sea of green turf to lift his team over Oklahoma State for the first time since 2014.
“Man, I’ve been waiting to see that for a long time,” Anderson said. “It was just a dream come true honestly.”