WVU Gameday Blog

The corner conundrum

Virginia Tech wide receiver Cam Phillips, right, catches a pass as he is pressured by West Virginia cornerback Mike Daniels Jr. in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WVU has a cornerback depth chart. Whether it’s written in ink or pencil is another matter entirely.

The latest chart isn’t any different than the first two — Hakeem Bailey and Mike Daniels are the starters and Elijah Battle and Corey Winfield are the backups. Yet defensive coordinator Tony Gibson doesn’t exactly sound married to it.

“The depth chart is never set. It’s for one game or one week. Right now we’re really still in the process.”

From Gibson’s words, it doesn’t sound like a talent issue as much as it does a confidence issue.

“They’re all good players. And they all have great confidence in practice. But then we get to the games and I don’t know what happens to them. We have to keep coaching them up and working to develop depth.”

None of that sounds exactly promising. And, honestly, the first warning that corners could be an issue came when Bailey, a juco transfer, and Daniels, used mostly on special teams prior to this season, took the No. 1 jobs from a veteran corner and a former Syracuse starter.  Now, Gibson is talking about adding corner depth by converting a freshman safety, Kenny Robinson, to the position.

There are 10 players listed as corners on WVU’s roster. Now, some of them are scout-team guys, but that’s saying something when you have to go poaching from another position to get the player you need. Considering the Mountaineers are 96th in the FBS in passing yards allowed and 73rd in pass efficiency defense, every option should be on the table. And a game like Saturdays versus Delaware State will be a great one to test out some new ideas.