West Virginia Mountaineers' Spring Practices Focused on Defense

By Mike Atkinson
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The West Virginia Mountaineers are a few days into spring practices, and the focus continues to be on the defensive side of the ball.

The West Virginia defense was atrocious throughout the 2012 football season and finished near the bottom in the defensive rankings.

The defense was so bad, that defensive coordinator Joe Deforest was sent to coach the second half of the season from the press box and ultimately demoted to co-defensive coordinator behind Keith Patterson. Patterson has been granted defensive play-calling responsibilities heading into spring practice, so the Mountaineers are learning how Patterson plans to run the defense.

Cornerback Brodrick Jenkins said Patterson is “an old fashioned coach who wants you to run to the ball and give effort.” He said Patterson believes in hard work and effort and that the rest will take care of itself.

The Mountaineers know the performance their defense put on display in 2012 is not acceptable and they are using that as a motivational factor for the 2013 season.

Defensive lineman Shaq Rowell said the coaching staff is consistently reminding the defense that they are the reason for the Mountaineers’ struggles last season, which is motivating them to step it up in 2013.

I would be very surprised if the Mountaineers’ defense is not significantly better in 2013. Now that the man who earned the nickname Joe _eforest (because he didn’t deserve to have “D” in his name) is out and Patterson is in, expect to see a much improved unit.

Also, the Mountaineers heavily recruited defensive players in the 2013 recruiting class, which was one of the best WVU has had in a while. If these players develop, some may even see the field in 2013.

Mike is a Big 12 Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeAtkinsonRS, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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