MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Depending upon how issues shake out this month, 4 of the 5 backend positions within the secondary, together with the nickel again, may very well be made up of current four-year transfers.
If Phil Steele’s projected two-deep seems to be correct, and Phil appears to be fairly wired nowadays, he has Murray State switch Marcy Floyd penciled in at one security place, Colorado State switch Rashad Ajayi and Illinois State switch Charles Woods on the two cornerback spots, with North Dakota State switch Jasir Cox penciled in at West Virginia’s nickel place.
Then, there’s the James Madison switch Wesley McCormick, who was additionally added to the combo to battle for one of many beginning cornerback jobs. Of these 5 guys, solely Woods noticed sport motion for the Mountaineers final season, so, clearly, there are some considerations exterior this system concerning the expertise stage West Virginia has in its secondary.
But are they actually inexperienced?
Ajayi made 34 profession begins with 76 tackles and 13 go breakups in 4 seasons at Colorado State. Floyd amassed 101 tackles, 20 go breakups and 7 interceptions in 25 profession begins at Murray State. McCormick performed 41 video games over a three-year interval at JMU earlier than opting to sit out his senior 12 months to protect his closing 12 months of school eligibility. Cox was in on greater than 100 tackles throughout his final two years at North Dakota State, which claimed the 2021 FCS nationwide championship. He was part of three nationwide championship groups throughout his four-year tenure there.
So, sure, they is likely to be inexperienced enjoying West Virginia’s protection, however school soccer is actually not international to them. And, if Woods’ manufacturing final 12 months is any indication of what these guys are able to doing, then Neal Brown might need struck gold as soon as once more in 2022.
One factor is for sure, they’re going to get each alternative to show they will play this fall.
“They have to assist. That’s why we bought them,” Brown mentioned yesterday. “That’s one thing we wanted. That was clear popping out of the spring that we wanted some expertise. We like our guys. We like (redshirt freshman) Andrew Wilson-Lamp. I believed he actually confirmed some indicators throughout the spring, however we wanted some expertise in that room to match Charles.”
On Monday, it was McCormick who confirmed up and made some performs.
“(McCormick) and (junior school switch huge receiver) Cortez Braham actually went at one another, and I like the best way each of these guys play. They each got here in throughout the month of May about the identical time,” Brown mentioned.
“Rashad and Wes are going to compete to play,” he continued. “We introduced them in right here for 2 causes. One, we thought they might compete for beginning spots on the nook place and likewise assist us on a number of particular groups.”
Cox is one other man who was introduced in to give West Virginia some assist on the spear place and likewise contribute in among the Mountaineers’ sub packages.
“He provides us some flexibility after we go to our six DB bundle,” Brown defined. “He made one very nice play (Monday). He’s bought the flexibility to get off blocks so far as our subject edge man, and he is actually a wise soccer participant, too.”
Indeed, these are good, savvy gamers who aren’t recent out of highschool.
“You have a look at the variety of snaps these guys have that we introduced in,” Brown famous. “You have a look at all of those preseason issues the place individuals are having some query marks on us and they aren’t essentially taking into (account) that we added over a thousand reside snaps.
“James Madison, final time I checked, they play fairly good soccer. North Dakota State performs fairly good soccer. Then we bought Rashad from Colorado State, that is greater than a thousand reside (sport) reps within the secondary. So, whereas perhaps they have not performed for us, they’ve performed soccer at a very excessive stage, and people three guys, they’ve to be prepared to play for us, and I imagine they may.”
Defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley mentioned getting skilled gamers from high-quality, championship-level FCS packages can also be essential.
“Yeah, it performs a giant position,” he admitted. “Experience is one factor and what you might be accustomed to culture-wise is one other factor, and that positively performed into our analysis of these guys. Most of your FCS guys are making that transfer for a purpose, and that purpose, nearly all of the time, is to show one thing within the twilight of their school profession. ‘Hey, I can compete in opposition to higher-level competitors.'”
He continued, “These guys have a tendency to be very, very hungry and keen to show themselves. For no matter purpose, perhaps from highschool to junior school, there have been issues they have been instructed they could not do. Now, they’ve the chance to present they will do it. Guys which have that mentality and mindset are a number of enjoyable to coach.”
West Virginia spent about two hours on the Steve Antoline Family Practice subject this morning with media invited to watch a portion of observe. The staff concluded this morning with a kicking contest to finish observe.
Yesterday’s work ended with a long-snapping accuracy contest.
“We at all times do one thing with the specialists, and the way I equate it’s to being on the first tee for anybody who has ever performed golf,” Brown defined. “All eyes are on you, and you have got a slim spot that you have to hit the ball so it is a bit of bit nerve wracking. To get some observe underneath strain we attempt to mimic that as a lot as we are able to. Today we had the longest kick and each guys (Danny King and Parker Grothaus) hit it effectively.”
* Today’s observe was a bit of bit hotter than Monday’s, however the thermometer did not attain 80 levels whereas the staff was on the observe subject.
* The two coordinators spent about 20 minutes every with the media following right this moment’s exercise. Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell was requested what number of reps he wants to see from every quarterback earlier than beginning to make choices on who will get nearly all of the reps. He mentioned when he begins to “see separation” is when the time comes to make that call.
His counterpart up at Pitt, Frank Cignetti, Jr., can also be evaluating a number of quarterbacks throughout the early portion of fall camp with USC switch Kedon Slovis and holdover Nick Patti battling for the beginning job.
* Defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley reiterated right this moment that he actually likes teaching his group of men. “I just like the items we have now and this can be a enjoyable group to coach,” he mentioned.
* One fascinating bodily side to Georgia switch JT Daniels is that he has lengthy arms. I’m undecided if which means something, however Graham did admit that it would assist him spin the ball a bit of bit higher on his passes. Daniels has additionally displayed the flexibility to make throws from totally different arm slots.
* Among these observing observe right this moment was former Mountaineer security Jarrod Harper, who lately grew to become a father for the primary time. Jarrod instructed me he has gotten out of the teaching occupation and resides in Morgantown and dealing for Compass Realty. He mentioned he not solely sells properties in Morgantown but additionally in Frostburg and Deep Creek, Maryland. Jarrod lettered 4 seasons for the Mountaineers from 2013-16.
* According to Brown, the staff shall be in shells Wednesday morning after which could have a light-weight restoration observe on Thursday.
“It would be the identical construction of observe. We will progressively get into a bit of little bit of contact after which on day 4 will probably be actually gentle, underneath an hour, and we’ll primarily deal with particular groups,” he mentioned.