Improved tackling key for West Virginia defense
It’s no secret that missed tackles plagued the West Virginia defense in the season opener.
The Mountaineers were charged with eight missed tackles in the game, but that number could be arguably higher as the defense failed up get ball carriers on the ground in key situations.
“We’ve got to tackle better. That’s something we’ve done really, really well here the last couple years,” head coach Neal Brown said. “That’s a standard. We tackle well.”
It’s something that the Mountaineers have prided themselves on over the past three seasons and it’s already a focus that must be improved moving forward. Brown admitted that the Mountaineers have already done some things this week in practice to work on it, but the key is basic.
“A lot of it is just being position. There are some fundamental things as far as keeping our ball foot up, keeping our eyes up and you got to wrap up,” Brown said. “We didn’t wrap up as well as we needed to.”
Tackling was an issue in the open field, but also in the red zone where the Mountaineers were unable to get leverage and were bulldozed at times particularly on a touchdown run by Rodney Hammond.
Tackling is like anything else and the more you do it, the better you will be as a team. That can be difficult in today’s college football where those drills are limited.
It isn’t something unique to West Virginia, as tackling is often at its worst early in the season so it often takes time for players to catch up to speed.
“You just have to try to find a way tom work it as full speed as you can,” coordinator Jordan Lesley said.
Some of the issues were related to scheme with Lesley pointing the finger at himself. But in the end the players simply have to get better at that basic concept on the defensive side of the ball.
It’s an easy enough goal, but now the Mountaineers must deliver.
“The more you do it the better you get at it,” Lesley said. The more you play the more you do it, so that’s what we’ve got to do.”
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