Check Out A Pair Of Physical Sessions As WVU’s Defense Looks To Establish That Mindset
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Tony Gibson has always tried to establish a hard edge when it came to the Mountaineer mindset of his defense.
The latest of drills during Wednesday’s practice showed just a piece of that. As the coordinator oversaw the segment, a pair of players were lined up over a bag placed on the turf. At the whistle, the idea was to keep the shoulders square and use pad level and pure power to drive the opponent back. The session matched players by units, i.e. defensive lineman against defensive lineman, linebackers vs linebackers and corners and safeties vying against one another.
The work comes just after the individual drills to open practice, and it sets the tone for the contact sessions to come. It’s also incredibly entertaining for players and coaches alike, and shows aspects of the grit and toughness desired by Gibson, who instructed his side of the ball to put their face on somebody and be physical.
There was another brief drill before the full scale contact work began, this time involving proper breakdown and pursuit angles. The basic instruction was to backpedal, then breakdown and approach the ball carrier with balance and an ability to adjust pursuit and point of contact as needed to make the wrap tackle. The point is to avoid missed tackles in the open field, and at least stay square enough to limit the straight vertical gains of the offensive player, instead forcing him east-west and to help and support.