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"Pressure is a privilege" for redshirt sophomore defensive BANDIT Jared Bartlett.

Bartlett sees the pressure put on WVU's defensive backfield as an opportunity to survey the field in a way. The BANDIT position, brought forth by defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley and his defensive staff in 2019, has been played nearly exclusively by Bartlett the last two seasons. 

The Miami, Fl. native has gotten so good at the hybrid position that last season, he was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week following a three-sack outing against Virginia Tech, as well as Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for the same week.

Now in his fourth season with the Mountaineers and coming off an injury that held him out of the Towson game, Bartlett approaches scouting quarterback weaknesses differently. Emphasis on watching the details of hip shifts, throwing motions, and eye movement now take priority in his mind. Everything he sees on film translates to on-field motion, and Bartlett has developed a keen understanding of how that looks playing out across from him.

"When I was younger, I was just running around, reacting to stuff," Bartlett said with a laugh. "Now that I'm older, it's a lot easier to remember the stuff."

Bartlett's preparation zones in on quarterback tendencies. What he does when the offensive line betrays him. Time in the pocket. Small shifts dictate where the ball will land.

"You study how they escape," Bartlett said. "You study how they step up. You study, based on the play, what are their checkdowns? Stuff like that. How do they handle pressure? How do they handle being hit? How do they handle having hands in their face? A lot of quarterbacks can't handle that.

"Nervousness stems from not being prepared," Bartlett added. "The more prepared you are, the less nervous you'll be."

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He works all week, watching game film so those nerves dissipate when the challenges arise.

This week's trip to Austin will be no different. Longhorn QB Hudson Card is the presumed starter, but the chance remains that an injured Quinn Ewers returns. Head coach Steve Sarkisian has left this week's depth chart deliberately vague. 

That requires the West Virginia defense to fully scout two separate quarterbacks, but Bartlett says that who starts is a non-issue.

"Regardless of who plays, we're going to perform the same way," he said. "I know Quinn Ewers is a talented quarterback... If he plays, then he plays. The other guy, Hudson Card, he's a pretty good quarterback as well. If he plays, he plays. It doesn't matter. Our game plan doesn't change... When you love the game of football, it doesn't matter."

That game plan will be on full display this Saturday, when the 2-2 Mountaineers clash with the 2-2 Longhorns at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. That game is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. EST.

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