MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Beanie Bishop knows what it feels like to be picked-on by opposing offenses.
In 2021, Bishop – then a cornerback at Western Kentucky – could not find any answers for the UTSA offense in a 52-46 shoutout loss.
No matter what adjustments he made, the Roadrunner coaches kept attacking Bishop’s side of the field to the tune of a 372-yard performance through the air. Bishop became visibly frustrated, something he later learned didn’t help his cause.
“That was probably one of my worst games of college,” he said. “It was a shootout. It was a sad day. [I] just told myself I wouldn’t let it happen again, and just control all of my emotions.”
For Bishop, a lot of good came out of that October shoutout at Western Kentucky. Shortly after, he started seeing a psychiatrist. He learned how to clear his mind, both on and off the field. He enrolled in a photography class at WKU, which scratched an itch that still presents itself in Morgantown on occasion.
All of which add perspective.
“I always go back to my ‘why,'” he said. “My family members and things like that, teammates. And just know, it could always be worse.”
Defensive back can be a lonely position when things aren’t going well, and the WVU secondary has had some head-scratching moments through two games this fall. WVU has allowed the third-most (563) passing yards out of all Big 12 teams, and the fourth-most points (55) in the conference through two weeks of the season.
Both Penn State and Duquesne scored touchdowns on long passing plays (25 yards, 72 yards) on their first drives of the game.
“You don’t want to go into a play holding your head down because offensive coordinators, they look at the stuff like that,” Bishop said. “[If] you’re moping around and you look sad and all that kind of stuff, they’re going to keep going at you.”
Through two games, the depth chart remains fluid, and the coaches are still tinkering with how to divvy playing time. Bishop’s spot is likely safe at this point, but he’s encouraging his position-mates to join him in embracing a turnover-focused mentality.
“I was telling [redshirt junior Malachi Ruffin] and some of the other guys like, we have to be able to trust [ourselves],” he said. “Whenever we’re able to make plays, we got to be able to trust ourselves. Instead of pass breakups, let’s go for interceptions. Those average guys get pass breakups. [If] you want to go to the NFL, get takeaways any way possible.”
His word should hold some weight too. He made perhaps the biggest defensive play against Duquesne Saturday when he stole a pass from a Duquesne receiver’s hands for WVU’s first interception of the season. He realistically could have three takeaways on the season after dropping a pair of would-be interceptions against Penn State.
“Every time you get an interception, it changes the game,” Bishop said. “You know, just being able to swing momentum.”
With just two forced turnovers on the year, WVU still has some boxes to check, and Bishop needs his teammates’ help.
“Last time I was in front of you guys, I told you guys we want to lead the nation in takeaways,” he said. “I kind of want to be able to lead by example.”