Defense Will Be Key to West Virginia Mountaineers' Success in 2013

By jameskelleher
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

With 38.1 points allowed per game last season, the West Virginia Mountaineers were ranked 117th in points-against in the NCAA. Head coach Dana Holgorsen showed his disappointment with his defensive squad by describing their performance as awful on more than one occasion. Over 30 different players were rotated in and out of the starting lineup on the defensive side of the ball last season, and not one mix seemed to work.

With a new season on the horizon, small glimpses of hope keep arising as spring practice continues. Redshirt-senior defensive tackle Will Clarke, nose tackle Shaq Rowell and safety Darwin Cook are all returning this season. All three look to make an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball and add to an experienced 2013 defense.

Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson has already started experimenting with different looks to keep opposing offenses on their toes. Patterson even went as far to say, “This defensive squad will be night and day to last year’s team. There will be no comparing the two.” according to

With the losses of Tavon AustinGeno Smith and Stedman Bailey, it seems as if the defense is the last of Coach Holgorsen’s worries. With arguably the biggest quarterback competition in college football looming, it’s obvious Holgorsen hasn’t been too busy on the defensive side of the ball.

The coach will have to rely on leadership from seniors on the defense to make plays and contribute to a team effort in order for the Mountaineers to win games this season.

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