A few weeks ago, West Virginia cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts said safety Karl Joseph is everything you want at every position.
That was six games into the 5-foot-10, 197-pound true freshman's career.
As they approach the ninth game, little has changed. Joseph has been West Virginia's best defensive player.
Is that too much praise on a guy who was playing high school football in Orlando, Fla., this time a year ago?
''I don't really think about that,'' Joseph said. ''I just go out there and try to help my team win every Saturday, and that's all I'm really worried about. It doesn't really matter if I have a good game or not, it's whether we win or lose - that's the most important thing.''
WVU's first freshman to start at safety since Robert Sands in 2008, Joseph is ranked 11th in the Big 12 with 61 tackles, 17th in pass breakups (five) and eighth in forced fumbles (two).
Last week, he had nine tackles, one for a loss, and one forced fumble.
Those are high tackle numbers for a safety but there are a lot of guys who can't get guys to the ground when they've reached that much open space. Joseph has a team-best 47 solo tackles. More times than not, he doesn't miss.
''I just wanted to go out there and do my job and that's it, not try to do too much,'' Joseph said. ''A lot of freshmen get nervous because they try to do too much. Our coach put a lot of emphasis on just doing your job and letting everything else fall in its place.''
It all began when he opened the season as a starter against Marshall, collecting seven tackles, including two for a loss. Hard to believe his heart was pounding out of his chest early in that one.
But it was.
''I think you could tell when you turn on the tape I was a little bit nervous,'' Joseph said. ''But as the game went on, I got more confidence. I can definitely see the difference between Marshall and now.''
So can everyone else. These days, he's expected to make a big play or two each time out.
''The way you handle expectations is by working hard and doing your job,'' he said. ''That's what I'm going to continue to do.''
Joseph arrived at WVU early, opting to enroll in spring. He said that was a big benefit but not the only one.
''It definitely gave me a jumpstart, along with watching a lot of film and just being coachable,'' he said. ''Being able to take in a lot of coaching and working on your weaknesses. I know what my strong points are so I try to focus more on my weaknesses. I think that's the biggest difference.''
Few talk about weaknesses in his game, but he's seen them. And doesn't shy away from them.
''I think it's something that motivates you to get better,'' Joseph said. ''The little things like breaking on a route or recognizing what kind of route is going to develop before they even run it. Stuff like that.''
Alston Explains Injury
When most heard WVU running back Shawne Alston had a deep thigh bruise, few expected it would keep him out for four games and the better part of a fifth.
The hit occurred against James Madison in the first quarter. But this wasn't your every day deep thigh bruise.
''I know what people think of a bruise,'' Alston said. ''I've played with contusions in my thighs. Running backs get those, but this was way worse than anybody thinks it was.''
It was a deep tissue bruise that was down by Alston's bone. His body couldn't absorb all of the blood, so he had to have a couple of procedures done to try to help it out.
''There were different obstacles that kept coming up and it was just a hassle trying to get my motion back and trying to get my strength back in my leg,'' Alston said. ''I still don't have all the strength back.
''It's just like a buildup of pressure in your leg. You can't really bend it back at all. I couldn't lift it up. It was just there. There was bruising on it and it just hurt.''