WVU defense enjoys new offense, too
Published: Monday, April 11, 2011
Updated: Monday, April 11, 2011 22:04
The anticipation West Virginia's offensive players have for playing in such a high-powered offensive attack implemented by offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is certainly understandable.
The likes of quarterback Geno Smith and every single Mountaineer receiver will likely break records or set career highs in one category or another this upcoming season.
Stedman Bailey, Ivan McCartney, Brad Starks and Trey Johnson all have admitted to enjoying Holgorsen's explosive offensive scheme.
Bruce Irvin has, too.
One wouldn't imagine a defensive player enjoying facing a scheme that averaged over 500 yards per game a season ago at Oklahoma State.
But the senior defensive end said he enjoys the challenge.
"Seeing the numbers Holgorsen and those guys have put up year-in and year-out, you have no choice but to be excited," Irvin said.
The excitement shouldn't be surprising since Irvin is a former high school receiver.
Now one of the most feared defensive ends in the country after finishing second in the country in sacks despite limited playing time last season, Irvin hasn't shied away from admitting his respect for Holgorsen, his staff and their system, specifically WVU's inside receivers coach Shannon Dawson.
"They're down to Earth people. They're real," Irvin said. "They don't sugarcoat anything. They'll let you know how it is."
Admittedly, Irvin is just as energized as most WVU fans are to see what kind of offense Holgorsen will produce.
The main reason behind Irvin's excitement: more points for the good guys means opposing teams will frequently be forced to play catch up, making work easier for the defense.
In essence, more passing situations for WVU's opponents translate into more sack opportunities for Irvin.
But in the present, the new implementation of the offense has seemed to be refreshing for the defense as it gives the unit something new to work against during the often grueling times of spring camp.
West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel said the up-tempo pace of the Mountaineer offense is beneficial to the young WVU defense.
But it comes with negatives, as well.
"The biggest concern is being able to handle some of the things that we'll see during the year that we're not seeing (against the WVU offense)," Casteel said.
Casteel said he has to find time for his defense to go against more conventional types of offenses and schemes it will face in the regular season.
But for now, the Mountaineers will continue to go about their business and learn to face the up-tempo style of play. As West Virginia senior linebacker Najee Goode said, WVU will likely face an offense similar in style to Holgorsen's sooner or later.
When that time comes, they'll be ready.
"The offense will run plays, and we won't even know where they're going," Goode said. "But it's working. Holgorsen's got a good plan.
"In the past, you've seen him put up points. You're going to see him do it again this year."
Thankfully for Goode and crew, it won't be against their defense.