MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For all the pad-popping collisions, quick-twitch explosions and crossfield pursuits, WVU defensive coordinator Keith Patterson says football remains a mental game.
That’s particularly the case during preseason camp, when players fatigued from daily practices need to devote their down time to film study. The challenge is maintaining focus and actually absorbing information rather than simply spending time in a chair.
“That’s easier said than done, when you’re physically banged up and you’d like to lay over there and sleep all afternoon,” Patterson said.
With every rep being filmed, there’s a volume of clips to assist players both mediocre and advanced. In fact, Patterson said his biggest coaching assignment is to break down “the young man who thinks he’s pretty good” and emphasize the need for improvement.
“We need to put that thorn in his side and twist it a little bit and make him understand his area of weakness.”
Seeking to achieve an “all-in” mentality, Patterson said another challenge is convincing highly-recruited newcomers to drop their individualistic perspective.
“Sometimes they have to be de-trained to where, look, it’s about the team,” he said. “Because it’s pretty easy to get upside down and become about them. So you have to get young men to surrender their way of doing things and become one component in a link in the chain.”