WVSports - West Virginia using a crossover to connect with players
{{ timeAgo('2022-08-06 10:57:00 -0500') }} football Edit

West Virginia using a crossover to connect with players

The West Virginia Mountaineers football team is utilizing crossover periods to enhance certain skills.
The West Virginia Mountaineers football team is utilizing crossover periods to enhance certain skills.

During the end of the open media session Thursday, West Virginia did something interesting.

The Mountaineers flipped their offensive and defensive players from their designated ends of the practice field to start a period simply known as crossover.

The period essentially had the defensive coaches working with the offensive players and vice versa on various drills that can help them if certain situations arise on the field.

For example, linebackers and safeties were going through ball security drills, while offensive players were focusing on tackling and other aspects typically designated for the other side of the ball.

It sounds like madness on the surface, but there is a clear method to it all.

The focus of the session is to help train players on the opposite side of the ball how to react to sudden change situations or other instances that could occur throughout a game. For example, helping a defensive back corral a pass for an interception or an offensive player to tackle after a turnover.

“Those guys are going to put themselves in position to make plays and get their hands on the football but it’s not going to be any good if they can’t carry the football and then give it right back to the offense,” running backs coach Chad Scott said. “Four our guys it’s huge learning how to tackle. They all think they can do it, but it’s different when they actually have to do it and it’s huge.”

It’s a mandate from the top down as head coach Neal Brown has made an emphasis on helping to best prepare their players to succeed in situations that are often outside their comfort zone.

On the offensive side the tackling drills help players to keep themselves healthy most importantly but secondly put themselves in position to make a stop that could change the outcome of a game.

“If we give up a bad play on offense and we go get it down and live to play another snap,” secondary coach ShaDon Brown said.

It’s something that the Mountaineers take seriously in large part because the coaches have made it that way. The staff often will show players situations in practice or at other places where there might have been a turnover and an offensive player elected to pull up instead of taking the proper angle and make a tackle. Those situations while split second in nature, can be the difference in a ball game.

“That defense has a chance to go out there and make a stop,” Brown said.

Those quick-change situations are often some of the most defining in games and having a way to prepare those players for them in advance is an advantage all around. Getting an interception is one thing, but understanding how to properly secure the ball and run with it is another altogether.

It also further drives home the team aspect of things and while it’s very much the offense pitted against the defense throughout fall camp, all parts of the equation make up the team.

“We need that in a game,” Scott said.

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