football Edit

Pooler ready for larger role on West Virginia football defensive line

Now a redshirt junior Jeffery Pooler is ready for a larger role on the West Virginia Mountaineers football team.
Now a redshirt junior Jeffery Pooler is ready for a larger role on the West Virginia Mountaineers football team.

Jeffery Pooler has certainly waited his turn now he’s ready for more.

Entering his fourth fall in the program, the redshirt junior has transformed his body from that of a 16-year old kid with baby fat to a 255-pound athletic man at defensive end. It’s a process that didn’t happen overnight and has certainly come with its challenges both physically and primarily mentally.

Pooler was not one of the players you expected to be highlighted by head coach Neal Brown for his efforts this fall but that’s exactly where he finds himself.

“Fundamentally on defense he is doing a nice job,” he said.

For the Dayton, Ohio native it was as simple as tick is running out in his career and it’s essentially now or never to generating enough attention to work his way onto the field this fall. Pooler has been at the center of a position which West Virginia has addressed the past two seasons with transfers which can often prove to be a challenging hurdle for younger players to overcome.

Are they not good enough? Can they not handle the task? Admittedly, some of those same thoughts coursed through his mind at times earlier in his career.

“I feel like I didn’t have trust but as I matured it came with the process,” he said.

That process involved not expecting to be handed things – instead working to get them and that stretches far beyond the football field. That attitude must be prevalent in film studies, work outs and every single aspect of being a football player if you want to earn that trust.

Consistency is the name of the game and while things started to click some for Pooler a season ago when he played a career-high 153 snaps, it wasn’t until this spring when it fully hit him.

Again the Mountaineers had brought in another transfer in junior college end Taijh Alston and with a new coaching staff he realized quickly that he had to start being productive fast.

“It gets me going,” he said. “Just being consistent with how I act, how I prepare and how I train.”

Adding to that was a change in the scheme which wanted defensive players to be more attacking up front instead of essentially place holders in the gap. Twists, stunts and simply more elements of athleticism were required in order to make plays up front in Jordan Lesley’s scheme.

That was the final push he needed.

“It got me happy just hearing it. Everybody on the field wants to make plays and he wants us to make plays,” Pooler said.

Now after sitting behind learning for the past several years, Pooler believes he is finally ready to contribute in a big way on the defensive line this fall. Now more mature, he understands the effort required in all aspects and realizes that if he doesn’t rise to the challenge somebody else will.

“You’ve got to want it,” he said.

It’s taken some time but Pooler now goes and he fully has a grasp on what is required if he wants to take it. The Mountaineers are going to need defensive linemen to emerge and the junior is ready to show that he is up to the task before his career comes to a close.

“It’s my redshirt junior year. If I didn’t get redshirted it’d be my last season,” he said. “I don’t want to keep wasting time.”

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