MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When defensive coordinator Vic Koenning and WVU parted ways in July, responsibilities were shifted on the defensive coaching staff for the Mountaineers. For this season, defensive line coach Jordan Lesley and cornerbacks coach Jahmile Addae will share the coordinator post. Lesley will handle the front end of the defense while Addae will coach the back end of the defense. Both Lesley and Addae will be coaching on the field on game days.
“That’s the million dollar question, how are you guys working together? We have been working together since last year,” Addae said. “We have been sharing the same ideas and sitting in the same meeting rooms and having the same discussions and agreeing to disagree. And at the end of the day, coming up with solutions that are best for the program and best for our defense. Nothing has changed there. He has been awesome to work with.”
As part of the shuffle on the defensive staff, Paden City native Jeff Casteel is back in an on-field coaching position. Casteel was originally hired as a defensive analyst in the spring but will now lead the outside linebackers. Addae played for Casteel when he was WVU’s defensive coordinator during the Rich Rodriguez era.
“Lord knows I owe him a lot. From my first job to my first start, a lot of firsts come from that guy. Just having him there is a comfort in itself. But also as a football coach, we all know that he has done some really brilliant things here and at other places. Anytime you can bring that kind of knowledge into a room, it is obviously helpful. It has been awesome. It has been really cool to have him.”
Addae will coach a group of corners and defensive backs that has a mix of veterans and newcomers that could compete for playing time right away.
“You start to feel really good about things going into week one. When I say really good about things, I mean the promise. We have to continue to work and we are not going to be necessarily where we want to be in game one. But what we hope is that the group will continue to grow throughout the season and turn it into what we think will be a really successful one.”
One of those newcomers is true freshman Daryl Porter, Jr. He is listed as the backup to starter Nicktroy Fortune at the right corner spot. Porter, Jr. is the son of a five-year NFL pro.
“He has done what every DB should do, and that is go get the football. The most impressive thing about Daryl is his ability to respond. There’s a time or two as a young corner where you are going to give one up. Every time that has ever happened, he has shown back up on the next play.”
At the opposite corner spot, redshirt junior Dreshun Miller is back after missing all of 2019 with a preseason knee injury.
“Dre has been the most consistent guy in camp. It has been pretty cool to see because Dre came in as a guy where that wasn’t his strong suit, in his consistency. But I think over the year in which he sat and really got a chance to sit back and watch the game while having to deal with the knee injury. In hindsight maybe that was one of the best things to happen to Dre. He was able to advance himself and mature himself mentally.”
Alonzo Addae is listed as the presumptive starter at free safety. Alonzo is Jahmile’s cousin. He sat out the 2019 season as a redshirt after transferring in from the University of New Hampshire, an FCS program. Alonzo benefitted greatly from a year on scout team last fall.
“He also comes from a situation where he wasn’t as advantaged as this one. So he has a bit of gratefulness that maybe other guys may not have. Or a bit of appreciation where some guys may take this for granted. I treat him like my own kid. I try not to coach him because I know I can be a bit harder on my own than I would be on anyone else. But Zo has done a really good job of learning the defense.”
Prior to returning to his alma mater, Addae spent five seasons on staff at Arizona. He was instrumental in bringing safety Scottie Young and linebacker Tony Fields II to Morgantown as transfers entering their respective senior seasons.
“Scottie Young is a really, really aggressive safety. He loves to hit and it really physical. He was known as a leader at the last place and we like to hope he brings some of that here.
“Tony Fields is just a guy who has made a bunch of plays and a bunch of tackles. He is extremely athletic. He shows up at the ball with bad intentions.”