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?”

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • mark s

    Give the Head coach 3 yrs like they gave Bill Stewart. If he doesn't improve by then, fire him and move on. He deserves the same as any other coach. Rich only lasted 3 years at Michigan. That seems to be the norm.

  • bill

    Nothing was said in the article about getting defensive backs to stick with receivers tight enough so that, even if the quarterback does - God forbid - have enough time to sit back in the pocket and comb his hair, he's still not going to have anywhere to go with the ball! I'm tired of watching the Mountaineer secondary get ripped by every team they play, even the ones they were supposed to beat. 3-4 defense means little if the last 4 don't know how to cover.

  • Boothe

    3-3-5 or 3-4 doesn't matter nearly as much as "PLAYAZ" and fundamentals - I.E., d-backs turning their heads to look for the darn ball.
    It's to early to trash Patterson, he had one game to try & correct the d's bad habits of a season.
    I am disappointed that the d staff changes didn't produce a bit more improvement in some of those fundamentals for the bowl game, but Patterson is capable, just look at his Pitt d giving us fits last season.
    But in the end, the d was what it was, the real shocking let down in TTU, KState, and bowl games was by the offense, a total vanishing act...
    Geno, for all his talent, appears to need to mature in his approach to the game, cut down on the bravdo and just PLAY.

  • Dutchman

    It was literally painful to watch such great (offensive) football talent squandered by an ineffective and poorly coached defense. For WVU to bring up the rear in 'D' tells me two things: Holgs preferred his good 'ol OK buddy rather than someone who knew defense, and the players didn't know what they were doing. Basic fundamental 'D' was absent with this squad. Simple corner techniques stepping back until turing on a pivot when the receiver makes his cut or just turning to the ball at the right moment -- there were probably a dozen passes that could have been easily intercepted if the corner, safety, or LB just turned around -- are basics learned in HS, along with sound tackling, that seemed beyond the capability of this WVU defense. The responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of DeForest Gump, regardless of the number of freshmen, for not coaching them properly ... and Holgs for hiring Gump to begin with.

  • graybeard

    I'm no expert but after looking at a couple Manwalks WVU didn't have any BIG guys. WVU always looked soft in the middle on the O and D side of the ball. Can't win in the Big 12 undermanned like that

  • Greg

    Blah blah blah, system this system that, youth this youth that...look a kid does not forget how to tackle a guy from his senior year of high school to his freshman year of college...if they were good enough to be recruited to div I then there should be no question about tackling or effort...and what system out there doesn't belive in tackling and effort..coaches and their effort need to be looked at...if youre a good enough coach you should make the kid fit any SYSTEM...

  • Tom

    To the guy who commented abt Patterson being there 2 years I have 1 question for you , are you really a mountaineer fan , and to the guy who commented abt casteel being good under Rodriguez , sir did you watch any of Arizona's games this year because their defense was just about as bad as ours .

  • Guido

    We simply need a Defensive coordinator who has a proven track record. Repeatedly saying that you accept full responsibility for a loss just doesn't cut it. Get educated if you don't know what to do.

  • Johnny

    Fire the whole coaching staff and hire O'Brian from Penn st! I think he would leave and has a good offense w defense and special teams. Also his NFL ties will help recruiting, etc.

  • Helen5844

    I watched the FSU game, and I was surprised at how many people were there to cheer on Northern Illinoise. No one thought they would win , but a lot of people showed up. Every year Mountaineer fans are vocally displeased with what ever bowl we are in. I am sick of hearing how everything is bad. Maybe some of you should go on into the garden, eat the worms and get it over with. Looking forward to a year when the fans stand behind the team. GOOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS.

  • Helen5844

    We seem to have three defensive players that want to play. We need all eleven. Looking forward to better recruitment or better coaches, which ever we need. Also, I love seeing Geno light up the sky with his prolific passing attack. However, that can only happed if the whether permits. In a wind storm or a blizzard it doesn't happen. We not only need a defense, but we need a couple more "run away beer trucks"!!!!!.

  • Peasant

    it cracks me up when fans start this "we showed no improvement throughout the year" Fact is, you cant teach a midget to dunk a basketball! Translation = the skillset was not there to make improvements. IMO the majority of players on defense had very low football IQ's. Sure, they may have excelled in high school on their athletic ability, however, when they faced opponents with equal speed and strength their low football IQ and INABILITY to be coached showed!

    • Robert

      I don't know why that would crack you up. I think the most important thing a player asks of his coach is to "make me a better player". And I don't think you are being fair when you say they are incapable of learning. I hope you are just exaggerating to make your point. You can't teach a midget to dunk, but if you can't think of a different way for him to score then you shouldn't be coaching him.

      My opinion is that the coaches have failed our players. I think we should have seen at least minor progress by now. Others are saying it will take a couple seasons. For the sake of the team I hope I am wrong. I'll be at every game again next season cheering for them to prove it to me.

      • Shawn

        There were times this year when the D was just awful. I feel like it had a lot to do with inexperience at key positions and bad game-planning by DeForest,

        I do believe he was a good hire to coach parts of the D but not the full blow D-Coordinator. Patterson is a hard core coach and will whip these guys into shape.

        I feel like we will be a lot better on defense next year with Will Clarke, Isaiah Bruce and Karl Joseph at all three levels.

  • tony

    hope the best with progress, Coach Patterson! gary. lets go eers!...should be better on d next concern next year will be offense concern down the stretch was the O leaving town....

  • fred

    i th ink the DC needs to take a lesson from Syracuse defense. it works and I was impressed

  • George

    I'm not going to blame Patterson for the 2012 Defense for he was the Co-Coordinator. The person who the Defense for most of this year was DeForest. Patterson while at Pitt turned that Defense into one of the nation's Best. I think Patterson deserves a year as the Head of WVU Defense and unlike 2012 Patterson won't be sharing the position with DeFrost as Defrost was supposed to do with Patterson in 2012.

    I blame Holgorsen for 2012. Holgorsen left the Defense entirely upto DeFrost and was pretty much hands off. There was a lot of things that needed corrected during the year, and Holgorsen, from what I saw, did little to correct them. Holgorsen made a lot of bad coaching decisions, and week after week he and his coaches plamed the players. WVU will struggle in 2013, for the recruiting is average at best. And I believe WVU needs to replace DeForest and Bedenbaugh, hire a Special Teams Coach - kicking coach and hopefully they can get Chip West as DB Coach. And Duncan needs to retire.

    WVU needs a kicking game, a defense an offensive line that can block, and an offense that can run and pass. But a quality team that can do this year after year iusn't cheap. It takes quality coaches and facilities, and I'm sure WVU and the alumni has deep enough pockets.