Latest Looks From WVU’s Defense In Fall Camp
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With West Virginia vying to again establish itself as among the premier defensive teams in the Big 12, the Mountaineers are facing similar circumstances to last season.
The issue then, as it is now, was trying to plug holes at corner with transfer players, and finding fits at linebacker after graduation left significant gaps in the unit. It’s become a bit of a cycle for Tony Gibson’s side of the ball, though somehow the fourth-year coordinator has been able to find what ails and keep WVU in the upper echelon of defenses in the conference over the past two seasons.
That typically starts with the basics, and the initial fall practice session was no different as the Mountaineers went through a series of tackle, angle pursuit and quick change drills designed to mimic certain game actions. Perhaps the most basic was an upper body tackle drill where defenders properly wrapped pads and exploded through the imaginary opponent.
West Virginia also delved into angles to the sideline to cut down opposing ball carriers. Here, safeties coach Matt Caponi oversees the correct approach to the boundary, and taking the straight-line angle to minimize the yardage gained while protecting against the cutback.
The most entertaining non-contact drill, at least from a pure hustle standpoint, is the quick change/on-off session designed to ready players for turnovers, or changes when an offense is in an up tempo style. It gets players off the field quickly, and allows the new ones to align rapidly in a base set as needed.