Gonna need your lineup, coach

So a little more about that direction WVU’s defense might take next season. Moving Karl Joseph, perhaps the most productive player the past two seasons, from free safety to spur might fix the biggest problem last season, but it sets off a chain reaction at cornerback and free safety.

And that might be a problem that puts this idea on the shelf.

It would behoove you to be good in the secondary in the Big 12, something you need not tell Keith Patterson. Change isn’t always best. But Patterson is scheming as he’s recruiting and he might get to experimenting in the spring. I’m curious, though, where you see this going.

Starting defense for the opener is …?

21 Responses to “Gonna need your lineup, coach”

  1. Sammy says:

    I’ll play:

    – Boundary Corner: One of these JUCOs and/or Travis Bell and/or one of Chestnut/Williams/Nana/etc (assuming one steps up)
    – Field Corner: Banks
    – Boundary Safety: KJ Dillon (backup Jeremy Tyler)
    – Free Safety: Worley (backup Jarrod Harper) (Worley may play some boundary safety with Dillon dropping down to another position, too)
    – Spur: Karl Joseph, backups Tonkery and Petteway
    – Buck: Golson with backup Gross
    – Sam: Kwiatkoski, backup a redshirt freshman (Benton?)
    – Will: Isaiah Bruce/Jared Barber
    – DE: Kyle Rose, backup Eric Kinsey
    – DE: Dontrill Hyman, backup Noble Nwachukwu
    – NT: Christian Brown, backup Howard

  2. Rugger says:

    Pretty hard to argue with Sammy. Maybe add Dravon to nickel or as backup at a corner.

    We were 102nd in total defense last season which was an improvement over 108th the prior year. If this group can get to 70th, I’ll be happy.

  3. Mack says:

    If WVU stays healthy and guys stay on their natural trajectory . . . I think the defense can make a big jump in the overall rankings.

    All of the starters that Sammy lists are pretty good.

    One question: Is it just me or is Karl Joseph tremendously undersized to play at the spur spot?

  4. I expect the secondary to be floating around on dinghies.

  5. Bobby Heenan says:

    Great article, Mike. Thanks for looking into this and explaining how one position change has a big domino effect. I figured we’d move Joseph down to strong safety, but I’m definitely happy to see we may move him to spur. I think I’ve seen enough to know two things though: 1. he can play football well 2. he can’t play free safety well.

    I think the Kwiatkowski/Bruce combo could be a very good core of inside LB’s.

    I pretty much agree with Sammy with some minor things I think might be different….

    I think Bell plays free safety, probably behind Worley on the depth chart to open the Spring. He played there for two years and isn’t terribly unfamiliar with it.

    I don’t think Harper has the speed to play free safety. I think he backs up at strong safety or nickle back.

    I’m not sure what the plan is for Isaac McDonald, but he has a rangy build and was a highly ranked recruit that redshirted last year. I figure he’ll get looks at strong safety and spur. They may try to put weight on him and put him at Buck, though. I’m not sure I’ve heard coaches comment on him so I’m guessing, obviously.

    I like KJ Dillon, but he has been somewhat inconsistent. It wouldn’t surprise me if Tyler beats him out.

  6. Sammy says:

    If it uncouth of me to note that if we move Joseph to Spur that means we’ll be playing a form of the dreaded 3-3-5? (Albeit not the 3-3-5 stack.)

  7. MontanaEer says:

    For the Hertz’s. Mickey’s, etc., who think that the Big East was so tough, here’s a comparison of the offenses ranked in the top 50 during 2011 (our last year in the BE) and 2012 (our first in the Big 12):

    Teams in Big 12 in 2011

    OSU #2
    Baylor #4
    OU #10
    TA&M #11
    TTU #22
    Mizzou #30
    KSU #34

    Teams in Big East in 2011

    WVU #13
    Cincy T-#26
    USF #48

    Big 12, 2012

    OSU #3
    Baylor #4
    WVU #9
    KSU #11
    OU T-#15
    TTU #20
    UT #22

    BE, 2012

    Cincy #39

  8. SheikYbuti says:

    Great. Now let’s compare the defenses.

  9. I love you, Doug! says:

    Joseph reminds me of what they used to say about the laser and Martin Short: An answer looking for a problem.

    All three are wondrous in and of themselves, but (until Lasik and “The Three Amigos”), we didn’t really know what they were for.

    Joseph had a tremendous season in 2012 because everyone was breaking through tackles in the front lines of the defense, giving him huge numbers, but he slipped this year. He seems too slow to cover receivers, but is a tremendous football player. Is he too small for Spur? Where do you put him?

  10. Mack says:

    I’m not sure how much comparing stats is informative in college football. I know that my eyes tell me that the Big 12 games are being played by much, much better athletes than the Big East games were.

    The above statement isn’t a great one for trying to win an argument . . . but it’s certainly the way I feel with regards to Big 12/Big East talk.

    In 2006, WVU went 10-2 and won the Gator Bowl with a defense that was somewhere between god awful and pathetic. Why? Because the only Big East team that could really make WVU pay for having such a pathetic defense was Louisville. Even if you have 11 toddlers on the field, the other team still has to be able to throw a ball and catch it in order to have an effective passing game. Most of the Big East teams in the last five years WVU was in it, didn’t. Most years, UConn, Rutgers, Pitt, and Syracuse weren’t capable of throwing for 250 yards against Poca High School. Once Cincinnati gained the ability to pass, it won two Big East titles.

  11. SheikYbuti says:

    Don’t go hatin’ on the Dots.

  12. Rugger says:

    The Big East season was a flat marathon with a few small hills and one big hill at the end.

    The Big 12 season is like the Thrilla in Manilla sans stoppage.

  13. Karl says:

    Having watched Big 12 ball for two seasons now, it’s struck me that one area where the Big East had an edge was in toughness, particularly on the defensive side. I see so few big hits anymore. It doesn’t seem to be valued by these Texas kids. Am I alone on this?

  14. MontanaEer says:

    It’s easier to hit slower targets.

  15. pknocker40 says:

    It’s a Black & Blue League!

  16. MontanaEer says:

    Yeah, Jack Black and Vida Blue.

  17. hershy112 says:


    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh out loud at your comment. That’s fantastic.


    To your point, I wonder if any of it has to do with the new rules and heightened focus on player safety. I’ve seen a lot more flags recently on big hits, so maybe kids are more hesitant in fear of being flagged. Of course, in the NFL, players just go low and end seasons/careers.

  18. hershy112 says:

    To clarify, the comment you made at 11:54 a.m.

  19. Mack says:

    I think MontanaEer and hershy are both right. The only “big hits” really come from a ground and pound type of rushing game. That doesn’t really exist in the Big 12 (and barely exists in college football anywhere any more). The rules have legislated out all big hits on receivers. But Andrew Buie got lit up in his first year in the Big 12 just as much as he did in the Big East.

  20. hershy112 says:

    Andrew Buie got lit up walking down High Street.

    But I agree with your points.

  21. smeer says:

    yeah Buie had this nasty habit of breaking into the open field and seeking out a defender to run into (except against Texas)