MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — What you see from Vic Koenning’s defense this season may not necessarily be what you get in the future.
Koenning is not tied to any particular base formation in the way that predecessor Tony Gibson was.
“We do a lot of principles, probably a little bit more than a lot of people do,” Koenning said Thursday. “There is some stuff that is 4-3-ish in it. There’s a lot of things that are odd stack-ish in it. Though we may not line up exactly, but some of the concepts and principles go back to that. It’s probably more 4-2-5-ish. It’s kind of a way of marrying a 4-2-5 odd and stack 3-4.”
This year’s version will be closer to a 3-4 given the personnel being carried over from Gibson’s 3-3-5 defense.
“I am already starting to see a little bit of things that makes me think we are going to be a little bit more of a 3-4-ish,” Koenning said. “There’s a lot more linebackers here and not as many linemen. We are trying to use the guys on our team with what best suits them. There are a whole lot of guys that are from 225 to 235 [pounds], and there’s not enough defensive linemen.”
The transfer market will serve as an X-factor for what the Mountaineers do defensively. There are currently three scholarships to fill, and if one or more of those spots goes to a defensive lineman, it will offer Koenning more flexibility.
“We still have some opportunities to maybe get a guy,” Koenning said. “We have a couple scholarships left, but we’ll see how things go and how some guys develop as spring wears on.”
After spending a redshirt season in the secondary, Kwantel Raines is working at outside linebacker this spring.
It’s not so drastic a change as it sounds.
In West Virginia’s new scheme, the Spear linebacker is essentially a down safety. Thus, Jovanni Stewart and walk-on Dante Bonamico are also in the group.
At 6-foot-3 with a prodigious wingspan, Raines’ size stands out. He’s even taking reps at the Will linebacker spot on the opposite side.
“Kwantel is going to give us some versatility,” said outside linebackers coach Al Pogue. “He’s one the few guys I’m double-training. If we go into some type of pass package and we want to keep a Will backer on the field that can cover, he can do that.”
— Allan Taylor contributed to this story.