Though he tweaked alignments and began making adjustments throughout December’s bowl practices, newly promoted coordinator Keith Patterson couldn’t change the mentality that hampered West Virginia’s defense all season.

“That one bad play happens and whooooosh, it’s like we go south and we go into the tank,” said Patterson after his defense allowed 369 rushing yards in a 38-14 Pinstripe Bowl loss to Syracuse. “That seems to have been the tendency all year long.”

Now comes the time for the real transition — the offseason conditioning program, that will run concurrently with Patterson and head coach Dana Holgorsen evaluating how to rebuild a defense that was among the nation’s worst this season.

“That’s where you make your team: It starts as soon as we get back and start winter conditioning,” Patterson said. “That’s where you have to instill all these traits and these qualities that I’m talking about.”

What does Patterson envision for 2013 and beyond as WVU tries to slow down Big 12 offenses?

“I want to be a multiple, attacking 3-4 defense, and to do that you have to be disciplined, you have to be very passionate and you have to be able to attack,” Patterson said. “I do not believe you can allow quarterbacks to sit back there and comb their hair and throw the football. They’re too good, too well-versed, and the receivers are too good at moving into the open voids.”

The next month also will be crucial for recruiting, though Patterson said the staff already has begun targeting the kind of athletes who fit the 3-4.

“We have to recruit to this system. You can’t just sit there and say, ‘Let’s squeeze a square peg into a round hole,'” he said. “You have to make sure you have the right guys.

“We want to have long, lean athleticism at linebackers, guys who can make plays in open space. How many times did we have people at the point of attack and we don’t make the best of those opportunities?”

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  • mm

    so what i'm hearing is it took nick saban to go to bama to get recruits and brain kelley to go nd to get recruits or is it coaching. some food for thought!

  • mike

    3-3-5 defense seemed to confuse teams well in the past .and we had success with it

  • shawn

    Some of you people make me sick with your fire em after one year mentality. You obviously don't understand how football works. There are years where you have to rebuild and bring your own recruits to fit your system! Give them time guys and let them do their jobs.

    • Chalkdust

      I'll tell you what me me sick, running a big time Div. I football program into the ground and embarrassing the entire state except maybe a few fellows who are easily satisfied.
      Even after the first five games, I'm thinking ok, ok, just retooling. Baylor hangs a 63 on'em, James Madison was an adventurer, Marshall was out-manned (not out-played) and in spite of O-linemen's feet placement, they ran the ball down the throat of Texas. After that game, things changed, I don't know what, but it seemed like a panic attack. By the end of the five game losing streak, it appeared the entire D-team had been replaced and the backwards hat guy was safe in the up-stairs booth. What happened to summer and fall pratice, was it wasted time in player selection?
      Oh well, you die hard fans know the score. Coaching is 75% of winning any sporting contest. Other-wise certain coaches would not win no matter where the go.

    • JImJim

      The Dude is getting (I didn't say earning) $6000+ PER DAY, for the next 5 1/2 year. He is not God , he is a joke, he laughs at people from WV.

    • Roy

      Shawn programs that haven't been winning on the national level (i.e. East Carolina) have to rebuild. WVU has been playing in BCS Bowls, been nationally ranked for years, so our program should be in the position of RELOADING every year instead of rebuilding. Unfortunately we have varied problems but I believe most of the problem lies in the coaching this past year.

    • Alum


  • ShadyGrove


    In case you haven't been paying attention, Patterson was the actual D coordinator for one game only, the bowl game. He was just put in charge of the defense earlier this month. I believe there is a lot f truth to Joey Sutton's and Jon's remarks.

    • protechcpa

      Fine. They all need more time. I am not going anywhere and after all, who am I? My father starting taking me to WVU football games when I was very small. I am a season ticket holder who even attended all the home games for the five years I was living out of state. I love the program and I look forward to football season with great anticipation. But I am frustrated by the over hyped and under performing coaching staff that have earned WVU some distinctions that undermine our great tradition. I am in favor of starting the new year with a hope for the best. However, as always, I am preparing for the worst.

      • shawn

        That's the problem...people are always so dang negative and "prepare for the worst." If you're such a die hard fan and big time ticket holder then stick with your team through rough years just like the good ones.

  • joey sutton

    why do you think jeff casteel, left the cupboard was bear. HE had no one returning. also that is the laziest offensive line i have seen at wvu.three all americans at skilled positions and all those loses spells bad o better time to join rich rod where expectations are small. no bad press.

    • WVU Alum in Houston

      I agree with you, Joey. I was just getting ready to post the same exact comment. Casteel knew we had no one coming back. He left at the perfect time and he knew exactly what he was doing! I also agree with your comment on the O line. What a lazy, overrated group, except for our center.

  • Ed Williams

    The defense showed absolutely no improvement during the year. Sorry, but that is poor coaching. I can't beleive Oliver Luck would stand for that! But then again it appears he's insn't going to make any changes. What a shame.

  • Robert

    Well, when the defense shows no improvement throughout the season, then the coaches arent during their job. I dont care if they are freshman players, they should have been getting BETTER. Fire 'em.

    • Robert

      Also, it's an embarrassment when our team receives recognition for the worst defense in college football since that Nevada team 2008.

  • Alum

    I see that experts and coaches reside here too. Every place I turn I find new experts who know how to fix WVU - who knew that there was such a depth of football knowledge, not only here, but everywhere in the cyber world.
    (Yes, this is supposed to be sarcastic.)

    I personally prefer to just be a fan and leave the expertise and coaching to those who get paid to do it.

    • ....


    • Chalkdust

      Really...Alum, you just like to watch football eh? Sounds like one of those dudes that check "No opinion" when voting in a opinion poll. Why bother to post an opinion tonight?

      • Alum

        Oh, I have an opinion. I just get sick and tired of the fire them when we don't win every game crowd.

        My opinion - the staff has to be given enough time. The defensive cupboard was bare and the depth was very thin not only on defense but also in the offensive running game.

        Happy now Mr. Scratch the Chalkboard?

        • Derek

          Alum its obvious when you get beat the same way over and over there is a problem. Fans who pay and support WVU should be able to voice our opinions. Its called freedom. When tix prices are x3 and everything is geared toward money heck yeah we have the right to rant.

    • Wolfshund

      Ànd I like being able to share my opinion

  • Pam Burch

    Guess ole Bill Stewart Didn't look so bad after all, and Jeff Castell was great under Rod...defensive players run along opponents instead of tackling them...just tackle, and push then backwards not forward everytime..we stink..

    • Paul

      Pam, Billy couldn't manage a game clock to save his life; he was "chronologically challenged" in the worst way. His constant use of the bubble screen drove us all mad - remember that? And his antics off the field ... well ... I'll leave that alone. I'll be you were beating up Bobby Bowden comparing him to Jim Carlin back in the 70s, weren't you?

      • Johnny

        I miss ol Bill. Remember when we was #3 National on Defense? And Geno n Tavon were sophmores n stedman was a freshman and we went into LSU and barely lost? Remember how the same exact team lost a year later in a blowout at home? That was players that was bad coaching. Bill still lost but by 6, Dana lost with way more experience in a blowout, not at LSU but at home. I miss ol Bill. May he Rest in Peace!

  • Richard will hear same ole sh!t about "new defensive coordinator" needing year or

  • unclec

    Well it looks like the 3 4 is not the answer. Lining up 3 d lineman against 6 o lineman does not add up when the line backers don't stay home. Seem everybody runs 4 3. I think the d coaches need to watch game film and see how the 13 teams we played played d and how well it worked. I still ask is it talent or coaching?

    • Cowboyslang

      Right on- a dog behaves if you train him to. Same with football players. They'll play as their taught an the only thing they should do is to play harder in a game than practice.

  • Jon

    I have never seen a defensive coordinator have a great season without six or more seniors AND experienced Underclassmen filling in the gaps. That is just college football.

  • JimJim

    Well, he's got all of the CoachSpeak. But, hasn't he been at WVU the last two years??

  • David

    This is just stupid. I don't care what defensive scheme you run the darn defensive backs have to turn around and look for the ball. To use the excuse that WV has not recruited for the 3-4 is an insult to the people of this state that knows a bad defense and terrible effort when they see it.

    I was always told as a player that you played the way you practice. Evidently, Patterson believes in something differently.

    • graywv

      I disagree, but I do agree" you play the way you practice" When you practice in a Ballroom, your going to excell in -Ballroom dancing! WE probably would have been better suited to play the 3-3-5, at least some of the time because it is better suited to defend the pass, but usually weak on the run!, but the 3-4-4 or 4-3-4, is a much better suited to either stop the run, or stop short yardage passing game. BUT and thats the problem- you have to have really good defensive backs, our returning DB were not very good, as well as LB, so we were at a big disadvantage-haveing to players so many freshmen. We need alot of help Soon-no doubt!

  • protechcpa

    Patterson has two distinct options: resign in disgrace or continue to coach in disgrace. I would strongly prefer the former, but apparently he is not satisfied with the amount of damage he has done to our program. The absolute best thing he could do for WVU would be to get a job with another Big Twelve team.

    • cwest37802

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Patterson is not the problem the players are the problem we have none to play this style of defense until we recruit ones to fit this system that's just way it is.

    • ....

      Seriously? willing to give patterson the benefit of the doubt. At least he's been a coordinator

    • Wolfshund


    • Chuck (not that one)

      I'm not sure Nick Saban could have done a great deal with 9 Freshmen starting on defense going up against the Big 12. I think that if you've invested the time and money into bringing these guys in you at least need to give them a recruiting class.

      • Bernie

        Agree as we'll