After collecting 14.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2019, West Virginia senior nose tackle Darius Stills has started off the shortened 2020 season somewhat quietly.
Stills failed to record a statistics while playing sparingly in WVU’s season opener against Eastern Kentucky then had three tackles — one for loss — in the team’s loss to Oklahoma State last weekend.
Talking to the media on Tuesday afternoon, Stills said so far this season teams are focusing more on stopping him.
“My freshman, sophomore years I really didn’t get double-teamed that much,” Stills explained. “Towards the end of my junior year I started to get double-teamed a lot but this year they’re really keying on me and my brother [Dante], scheming off of us. I’m definitely getting a lot of double, and triple teams.”
Darius said in order to beat the double teams he has been facing so far this season, he will need to play almost flawlessly.
“In order to play against double teams, you’ve got to stay with a low pad level and you’ve got to just keep your feet moving,” Stills explained. “If you stop your feet you’re going to get knocked over and if you have too high of pad level, you’re going to get knocked over. So really you’ve just got to be perfect in order to beat it.”
Together, Darius and Dante are two of the most disruptive defensive players in the Big 12. After combining for 26 tackles for loss and 14 sacks last season, opposing teams know they need to be wary of Stills brothers when they play WVU.
“Obviously, they gather the attention of everybody and they should,” WVU defensive line coach Jordan Lesley said. “Every time we come to the line they’re going to know where 55 [Dante] and 56 [Darius] are and that’s part of being a good player. They have to learn how to deal with it and the guys around them have to take that pressure off them, which is not happening right now.”
This week’s upcoming game against the Baylor Bears could be an important one for the Stills brothers moving forward. It was against the Bears last year that they broke into the national spotlight, combining for 13 tackles and five sacks.
One of the defenders playing the best around the Stills brothers this season has been bandit linebacker VanDarius Cowan, however, he is questionable for this week’s game against Baylor with a knee injury. Cowan leads the Mountaineers with 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks so far this season.
One of the other players that can benefit from the Stills being double-teamed is Arizona graduate transfer linebacker Tony Fields II.
“You know automatically that one of them is going to get a double team every play… I don’t have to really worry about lineman climbing to me as much,” Fields said. “They make plays, they’re playmakers, so having those two big guys in front of me is great.”
The Stills brothers and West Virginia will face off against the Baylor Bears starting at noon on Saturday in Morgantown. The game will be broadcast on ABC.