WVU defense still needs improve

MORGANTOWN – It’s a phrase that was repeated time and time again in Morgantown throughout the month of August.

The defense will be better because of experience.

Few probably thought the statement to be true when, during the first game of the season, West Virginia found itself down 17-7 at halftime to FCS opponent William & Mary.

Still, even after the Mountaineers won the game, questions surrounded the defense.

In last week’s game against Oklahoma however, a few of those questions finally seemed to get some answers.

Yes, the Sooners came away with the victory, but the loss can’t be pinned solely on the defense. It was the offense that was mostly at fault as it missed opportunity after opportunity to capitalize when the defense gave it the ball back, which it did four times.

The defense actually played good. Well, ”just average” according to coach Dana Holgorsen, but still, average seems to be a lot better from where the unit has been.

”I believe we did some good things,” defensive lineman Kyle Rose said. ”We had like 10 tackles for loss. We definitely changed the line of scrimmage. Obviously, we didn’t do enough that we needed to do to get the win. We game-planned pretty well for it. We have some things we need to work on. We need to get off blocks a little better and play harder when they run the ball.”

True.

Oklahoma rushed 57 times for 316 yards in the victory.

But the run defense is something that defensive coordinator Keith Patterson says is a lot better than what people think.

”It just boils down to doing what you’re coached to do,” Patterson said. ”We had some misalignments. Everybody is talking about our rush defense and if not mistaken, for their first 30 rush attempts, they only had 115 yards. That’s just like 3.2 yards per carry and 115 yards rushing on 30 carries, that’s not too bad of rush defense.”

The pass defense wasn’t too shabby either.

The Sooners threw for only 119 yards and Darwin Cook and Karl Joseph both came away with interceptions.

”We felt like that if we wanted a chance to win, we had to force some turnovers,” Patterson said.