West Virginia defense focused on improvement
Football is a game full of constant adjustments.
From the field to the film room and practically everywhere in between it is a battle of trying to stay ahead of the opposition as they try to play catch up. But that doesn't necessarily mean wholesale changes.
The West Virginia defense finished as the No. 4 overall unit in all of college football allowing only 291.4 yards per game and was perched at 21st nationally at 20.5 points surrendered per game. So, how do the Mountaineers stay ahead of opposing offenses looking to solve their defensive puzzle?
“You have to be who you are a roll it,” coordinator Jordan Lesley said.
Football is a simple game, often complicated by humans and in order to instill confidence in the scheme from the players sometimes it’s best to approach things with as little adjustments as possible.
In order to improve, West Virginia has to simply look at what they didn’t do well last year. There isn’t any need for wholesale changes, but that doesn’t mean adjustments can’t occur. But those must be alterations made with the current personnel in mind to avoid issues.
“Bad coaching is asking guys to do something they can’t do because it works on a white board or a piece of paper,” he said. “Everything works on a white board. Everything works when you draw it up but if you’re asking to a guy to play man and he can’t play man. That makes you a bad coach.”
One thing that West Virginia did do well was play hard, so that has to continue, but the defensive coaching staff isn’t necessarily focused on trying to stay ahead of the opposition or worrying about what everybody else in the league is looking at.
Instead, the focus is on trying to make small adjustments within what the current personnel group with allow.
Just because something works in other defenses doesn’t necessarily mean it will with what Lesley and the West Virginia coaches have in Morgantown. So it’s important to stay true to your own beliefs because continuous wholesale changes often force players to doubt the direction of the coaching.
“We either got to find a way to get better at it fundamentally or how we were doing things. Or if there is schematic change that has to take place then let’s look at that and let’s do something that our personnel allows us to do,” he said.
That means simple, subtle changes with the overall goal of improvement in mind. But the focus isn’t on the opposition, instead internally on how the defense can move forward.
“We’re not going to make wholesale changes worrying about people catching up to us,” he said.
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