It’s all on Gibby, right?

You can point out the problems at quarterback last season. You can remind viewers the defense was decimated by injuries. You can explain close games, wasted leads, overtime losses and toss-up plays that contribute to each. If you do it all properly, you can make the case WVU is due.

You can talk at length about the way the roster is tiered and arranged. You can say it hasn’t been this way in years and there’s been a price attached to that. You can recite the team has 55 players who have played in the Big 12 and that the program has visited every venue and been in the conference for two years and state confidently the surprises are over.

But you just can’t get past this: West Virginia University has to be a whole lot better on defense in 2014 … and maybe, based on the stuff from the first two paragraphs, ought to be a whole lot better on defense in 2014.

It’s not that easy, and the Mountaineers have ably proved that the past two season, but the variables are there to project some optimism moving forward, and that process begins today. Of course, it begins with another defensive coordinator, as well as a reimagined defensive staff, in what I think we can agree to call a notable season for Dana Holgorsen.

So, um, that’s a lot on Tony Gibson’s plate in his first year as a linebacker coach and defensive coordinator. He and I went over all of that, plus Tom Bradley, big plays, sneaky additions and changes on his defense as we get ready to begin preseason camp shortly.

10 Responses to “It’s all on Gibby, right?”

  1. SheikYbuti says:

    Well, we had a situation on defense a few seasons ago like the Gibson/Bradley thing where the defensive coordinator/supposed recruiting guru (DeForest) was given the coordinator title over the more experienced, competent guy who could actually coach Xs and Os (Patterson), and that worked out well. I’m on board!

  2. Down South says:

    Just saw my first Dougity Dog video of the young season, so I am fired up and ready to go. And optimistic about the young talent on defense. Reading Mike’s first post-vacation post about who is on the roster as camp opens, which has been shuffled down the stack quickly, the thing that stands out to me is how amazing it was that we got the entire recruiting class on campus last fall. That just doesn’t happen. And I think that will be a big reason that this team has success, if it does. I know there are big concerns about Trickett, but I feel like White and Alford are poised to have very good years. Nothing is so optimistic as the beginning of fall camp.

  3. ccteam says:

    The defense will be better. If Trickett can stay healthy the offense should be more consistent. The schedule is tougher though. I think this team can get to a break even season.

  4. I love you, Doug! says:

    Things I Am Worried About (in no particular order):

    – Crippling hit on Trickett vs. Alabama; can continue to play but is “not right” rest of season.
    – Worley is getting more pre-sophomore-season hype than any DB since Andrew Jones (who?) in the mid-’80s who, if I recall, got on a preseason all-American list and then proceeded to disappear.
    – Spain is only decent OLineman the team has.
    – Karl Joseph has topped out.
    – No breather until Sept. 27 open date (playing #2 and #3 in successive weeks).
    – Defense can’t stop the run.

    Things I Am Hopeful About:
    – I think Alford is a real superstar in the making.
    – Dreamius!
    – Isaiah Bruce moved back where he belongs.

  5. Sammy says:

    “It all sounds similar to the 3-3-5 odd stack Gibson taught here with former defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel. One of Casteel’s better performers through the years was Anthony Leonard, a linebacker from 2007-10. To little fanfare, though for obvious benefit, Leonard was hired in the offseason as a defensive graduate assistant. He’d been the defensive line coach at West Virginia Wesleyan, where Gibson’s son, Cody, is an offensive lineman.

    “We watch cuts-ups with the players and Anthony is the one in the cut-ups,” Gibson said. “The kids see him doing it up there and understand he knows what he’s doing when he’s talking to them.”

    They are watching cut-ups of Casteel’s defense from 2007-2010? Based on that and the rest of the article, are we running Casteel’s 3-3-5 defense?

  6. Shoot4show says:

    Sammy, take heart. Last year we didn’t run a defense, so any defense we run will be an improvement. Ba-dum-dum. Take my wife… Please!

  7. The 25314 says:

    I wish I could post more here, but when I think about how Holgorsen ran off Casteel in favor of DeForest and then hired Tom Bradley but put Tony Gibson in charge of running Cateel’s defense, my head starts to explode.

  8. Shoot4show says:

    Holgorsen to Casteel overheard some years ago… “Don’t be upset; it’s me, not you.” Hey, we’ve all been there.

  9. Sammy says:

    25314: You captured my reaction exactly.

  10. Dann White says:


    Good to see your handle onscreen. We all have had those things that just sort of spoil things for us from time to time. I hope you don’t let it keep you away from us, its a better blog when you are around.
    I guess I am just saying, welcome back brother, let’s relax and enjoy.