MORGANTOWN. W.Va. — Toward the end of West Virginia’s preseason camp, coaches noticed a new-look defensive end showing pass-rush moves that were explosive and disruptive.

WVU athletics

At 265 pounds, Eric Kinsey is 30 pounds heavier than he played as a high school senior in Miami. Yet he claims he’s faster.

And, no, they weren’t fawning over Dontrill Hyman.

Hyman, the junior college transfer with impressive measurables, may soon develop into a wrecking force, but it was sophomore Eric Kinsey who developed into the starting defensive end opposite Will Clarke.

“I think (Kinsey) is coming out of his shell a little bit with confidence and starting to believe in himself,” said defensive line coach Erik Slaughter. “You’re seeing a guy with a lot of talent growing up and having confidence in that talent.

“I trust him.”

That last bit rings essential, because even though Kinsey appeared in all 13 games last season, he wasn’t able to crack the primary defensive line rotation and admittedly spent his freshman year in “go-with-flow” mode.

“Just out of necessity last year we played Shaq Rowell and Jorge Wright, and you’ve got two nose guards on the field and they’re both 300 pounds,” Slaughter said. “If we were playing people who were going to line up and pound you, we were all set. But most people in this league don’t do that.”

Up from 235 as a high school senior to 265 pounds now, Kinsey finally has more of the heft necessary to wrestle offensive linemen combined with the athleticism he had before the weight gain.

“It’s good weight,” Kinsey said. “I’m bigger, but I run faster now than when I got here.”

In long-yardage situations this season, Kinsey might even be used at nose guard to help generate the kind of pass rush often missing in 2012. Though WVU’s 23 sacks ranked in the middle of the Big 12, those sacks belied how often opposing quarterbacks found time to throw. Thus the Mountaineers allowed a league-worst 38 passing touchdowns and also ranked last in pass-defense efficiency.

“We’ve got to affect more passes and take some pressure off our DBs,” Kinsey said, pointing out one of Slaughter’s preseason refrains. “When we feel like lagging in practice, he says, ‘Do you want to lose six games again?'”

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  • bva24

    He was probably confident because he got to practice against that offensive line all of camp.

  • dallenfive

    I couldn't agree more George, last we year we had a lot of offensive star power; but lets not forget that we had pretty talented guys over there on the sidelines. We played an obscene amount of freshman on defense. If I remember the most in many, many decades. Also, which Im sure its been stated here in the past, but Dana has had a 4,000 yard passer every year for 11 straight years. Ill go with the odds that this will make 12, plus you don't generally have that many yards without a lot, lot of touchdowns to go along with it. I see us going 8-4 with losses to Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma state all of which are away but the final one. I have good feeling about this team and where its going. But that just my two cents.

  • George

    I truly believe that WVU is a much more rounded and talented this season, than in the past several years. I'll be paying close attention to W&M game tomorrow. The two top things I'll be paying attention to are the QB play, and Kicking Game. The next two are the OL & Defense.

    I don't believe the coaches are all that satsfied with the Kickers and Punters. And it will be interesting to see which QB can win the Starting Job.

    I know the OL and Defense will be inproved, but how much? And I want to see which Offensive Backs are all that and more.

    If WVU is as I good as I believe they are, they really won't be tested until game 5 when they play Oklahoma State. It will be the Oklahoma State games that define WVU's season.

    GO EERs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bobby M

    NOT GOOD! Articles are starting TO echo single theme - uncertain with NO confidence! Worry status - ACTIVATED!

  • tw eagle

    keep working hard young man , it'll be the man across the line from you that relents . . .
    that tough mental edge will carry you through the tough parts , and your accumulated
    experience will make you a "bear" of a player . . .
    Be a mountaineer , on and off the field . . .

    Goooo Mmmoountaineeerrrsss ! ! !

  • Maxxajay

    No one wants to lose any games....Stay under the radar...ESPN boys don't think we have anything this year..( I don't agree ) we got more this year than we had last year...