Five To Watch For WVU Football

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    Five To Watch For WVU Football MORGANTOWN, W.Va — Some have track records, made up of their play in previous West Virginia seasons. In their case, wha
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    I would add Josh Chandler to that list


    Good call cc. I think he is a player the defense can build around. Could also add Charlie Benton if he recovers fully. He was very mobile before his knee injury, and I think his style of play fits this defense.


    So, am I a bit too optimistic when thinking of a LB group of Chandler, Cowan and Benton?

    That group excites me based on perceived skill set which is a stud in the middle and guys that can run at the outside positions. We’ve seen what Benton can do if healthy, Chandler drawing comparisons to David Long sets a ridiculously high bar and Cowan…

    Which brings me to my bigger question. Does Cowan look to be a stud at MLB? He has prototypical size and from what I can gather solid speed for the position. Could he be our best MLB since Wiley?



    Remember that the D is much different this year. There are three hybrid positions, two of which have some LB qualities. Not trying to get caught up in names, but I think it’s important to understand.

    Cowan is at bandit, which has no relationship to the bandit in Tony Gibson’s defense. Here, the bandit is on the line of scrimmage most of the time, but can drop off on occasion. He’s a hybrid DE/LB, but must have LB speed. If Cowan can learn the position and keep focus, he could be good. That is not a done deal yet. Benton is also being viewed as a bandit.

    Then you have a will and a mike backer. Chandler is at the will, but there are a lot of former safeties at this spot right  now (Lindsay, Lusane, Raines).  The mike is about the only “traditional” backer in this defense. Right now that’s Tonkery and Campbell.

    The other defender along this second level is the spear, which is a safety LB combo leaning toward safety skills. Stewart, Bonamico and Raines are guys to watch here.

    Overall, I agree that there is potential here. But Cowan has to learn the position and execute — he has the physical skills. If Benton gets healthy, I think this corps is good enough to win with.


    Also, take a look at the depth chart under the Football heading on the menu. That’s pretty close to what WVU exited the spring with.


    Thanks KK. Just thought about the three players and traditional LB position/roles.

    The more I hear about this defensive scheme the more it sounds similar to the 3-3-5. The hybrid positions are a bit different perhaps but the flexibility and deception aspects seem similar. Lots of ways to disguise and pressure.


    Mex, you’re right. It has similarities to the 3-3-5. It probably most closely resembles the 4-2-5 that TCU plays, though there are even some differences from that. At times it’s almost a 4-1-6.


    We’ve been debating what to call it, and settled on “multiple”. There are just so many different ways the defense can line up and morph.

    For instance, it can go to a “true” four man front by swapping another DL in for the bandit – maybe if WVU has a guy that rushes the passer well from a 3-point stance, or to go against a power run team, like K-State.

    I’m sure at some point this year WVU will have three LBs stacked behind three DLs and the cries of “that’s a 3-3-5” will be heard.

    But as Greg says (we’ve talked about this with Koenning and Lesley) it’s a changing defense that can be aligned in multiple ways.


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