With up-tempo, no-huddle offenses becoming more and more prevalent in the college football world, coaching staffs across the nation are scrambling to invent new ways to stop – or at least slow down – the attack.
In implementing a multischeme defense, WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen believes the Mountaineers have finally found a solution to the offensive onslaught the defense has been subject to for the last two seasons.
“It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I’ve been here,” Holgorsen said in an interview with WVUsports.com. “I have to look at what gives us problems, because a lot of teams in the Big 12 (Conference) have similar defenses. The thing that gives us the most trouble is an odd defense, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
In 2014, the Mountaineers will show an odd three-man front as they have in previous years but will shift around the linebackers and defensive backs to produce different looks.
“Being multiple on defense is very important,” said junior linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. “Everyone can run a certain defense, but if you can come out with different things and different formations, you will be fine. It’s a very big thing in the Big 12 because you see so many different offenses. You have teams with fast quarterbacks, run games and fast games.”
With most offenses in the Big 12 attempting to rattle off as many plays as possible in a game, it’s always an uphill battle for defenses to properly line up before the snap. Holgorsen said the defense is making major strides this spring in lining up quickly before the snap.
“I’ve been really impressed with how quickly they line up,” he said. “We face so many high-tempo offenses that we need to be able to do that. I think they’re doing an excellent job with that right now.”
Tony Gibson, West Virginia’s first-year defensive coordinator, has been keeping the defense simple up to this point. Gibson said he wants his players to have a firm understanding of the fundamentals of his defense before moving onto anything else.
“Right now, we’ve got a couple blitzes and base coverage plays,” he said. “I want them to master that first to see what they can do. When you do a lot of things but you can’t master them, that’s when you see problems.”
The WVU coaching staff hopes to have all the kinks ironed out by the spring game set for April 12 at Milan Puskar Stadium.
“As long as we’re playing hard, seeing the right stuff and playing the right guys, it’s going to be hard for them to get past us,” Gibson said. “We just want to get really good at what we’re doing.”