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WVU defense looking to right the ship

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Tony Gibson was admittedly as bad as he’s ever been following a game.

It’s not hard to figure out which one, either, and it’s hard to blame him.

West Virginia gave up scores on eight straight possessions, including seven touchdowns, against Oklahoma and didn’t even get a stop until the third quarter. The Mountaineers allowed over 13-yards per play as the regular season ended with a thud.

“It was embarrassing to give up eight straight possessions that we couldn’t stop them. Our kids didn’t play hard; didn’t play like I want them to play. I thought it was ridiculous,” he said.

Gibson has been looking for an explanation for his unit’s performance and it’s something that has haunted him even with how impressive Oklahoma has been on the offensive side.

“I’m still pissed off to be honest with you,” he said.

So needless to say he’s let his players know it over the course of the weeks leading up the Heart of Dallas Bowl has been challenging to say the least for the players.

How challenging?

“As miserable as I can try to make it,” he said. “Verbally that’s about all I can do.”

Gibson has told his team that he thought about the performance and what will need to happen in order for them to turn things around to put together a better performance.

That starts with stopping the run against a Utah team that is physical up-front and prides itself on establishing the line of scrimmage.

Sophomore running back Zack Moss is as physical as a running back as Gibson has seen this year and is difficult to bring to the ground as he runs through arm tackles.

It’s a defense that was replacing nine starters and forced some players into roles they were not ready for this year, complicated even more by the fact that the injury bug hit.

“We tried to hang on, had to put a Band-Aid on a lot of different things and we were there until week 11,” Gibson said.

But now for the bowl game, and especially next year the Mountaineers lose only a few starters but have people that have seen valuable time and will be ready to step in next year.

“You feel a lot more comfortable now,” Gibson said.

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