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December 2, 2013

Rose: 2014 is upon us

Following last Saturday's disappointing loss to the Iowa State Cyclones, the feeling inside the Puskar Center compared to that of a funeral procession.

One-by-one, players and coaches exited the locker room to talk with the media, all flanked by a look of loss and disappointment following the Mountaineer's final game of 2013, securing a 4-8 record on the year.

One player in particular appeared to shoulder the loss, and season as a whole, heavier than others. Defensive lineman Kyle Rose, who showed breakout potential at times in 2013, was taken aback by the loss.

And the normally soft-spoken Rose was not shy about airing his disappointment about the comeback loss against the Cyclones, contrasting it with West Virginia's season as a while.

"A credit to Iowa State. They came to play and they never gave up after the whole season," Rose said. "Every single game they played in, they've been in it. If you look back at every game they've played and seen they were close to winning - kind of like us. So we were a similar team. They just wanted it more and they got the victory."

It was obviously tough for Rose to admit a team "wanted it more" on the field, leading to the loss. After all, football it a competitive sport, and all participants maintain that competitive fire that helps will their team to victory on any given occasion.

But on Saturday night, Rose seemed to noticed something different on the field.

"I can't just sit here and tell you what happened," he said. "All I know is that, from my perspective, I can only speak for myself. I played my hardest. And I can speak for some other guys and say they played hard, from what I saw."

One reason for the lax play at times from the Mountaineers was a slew of young players contributing in key positions on defense. Injuries plagued the West Virginia defense late in the season, forcing young players such as Jeremy Tyler, Daryl Worley and Dontrill Hyman to take on bigger roles in short order.

While many of these young players stepped up admirably, fatigue and injuries had a noticeable effect on defensive play. But even so, Rose is not using the injury card as a copout for the late season losses.

"That's just part of football," Rose explained. "There's nothing you can do about injuries, it's just part of the game. We just needed some guys to step up and make some plays sometimes. It's just the price of being young; we've all been there. A credit to those guys for steeping in and filling those roles. We're going need those guys to come back next year and be a big part of our team."

Still, at the FBS level all players - young or old - need to be prepared to see their role expand at any given moment. This is the message Rose believes all young backups at this level need to heed as they embark on their collegiate football careers.

"I think we expected everyone to step in there and play at the same level a starter would," he said. "We ran the same calls that we normally would have in a game. Some of those guys have to step up. They'll learn from those experiences and they'll be better for it next year."

Ultimately, the experience the young players gained late in the season can only help the Mountaineers as they look to rebuild following a devastating 2013 campaign. Moving forward, Rose is already looking towards 2014 as an opportunity for a tremendous rebound.

"I just have a message to the fans in Mountaineer Nation - 2014 is upon us," Rose said. "To the fans, I can say that next year will not be like this. I will do everything in my part to make sure it's not like this, and I know I've got some guys with me that are ready to join forces in getting this team back to where it was and where it needs to be."

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