The West Virginia Mountaineers are under pressure to get things turned around in the Big 12 this season. To do that, they’ll need to make strides on both sides of the ball. But one area that will need to make significant improvement is the team’s pass defense, which ranked dead last in the Big 12 in 2013. There’s reason for optimism in 2014, however, as the Mountaineers get ready to move Daryl Worley into a shut-down corner role this fall where he should flourish and become a star.
Worley made an immediate impact on the West Virginia defense during his freshman year in 2013, playing in 11 games and recording 45 tackles, including three tackles for loss, with an interception and five pass breakups. The graduation of Darwin Cook, who led the team in 2013 with four interceptions, leaves a playmaking void in the secondary which Worley should slide right into in 2014.
During the spring, Worley showed what he was capable of by blanketing the team’s No. 1 receiver Mario Alford and completely shutting him down. The Mountaineers haven’t had an elite lock-down corner since Adam Jones and their defense has suffered for it. Worley has shown the skills to break that dry spell with his athleticism and physicality but has also displayed excellent leadership despite being just a second-year player.
West Virginia has plenty of questions to answer at multiple positions heading into the 2014 season. While the pass defense has been a major weakness for several years, there’s good reason to think that will get turned around (at least partially) this season with a player like Daryl Worley leading the way. Will his lock-down ability be enough to make WVU competitive in the Big 12?