Junior college transfer Bruce Irvin came to the Mountaineers from Mt. San Antonio Community College in California, where he was ranked the No. 6 junior college prospect in the nation. Upon his arrival in Morgantown, Irvin immediately drew notice for his play.
Irvin got his first real chance to showcase his talents during West Virginia's fall camp scrimmages. The highlight of his camp, at least that portion visible to the public, was was a two-play, two-sack performance in his first action. That, of course, sent tongues wagging and keyboards clicking, and set the bar of expectation impossibly high. While Irvin certainly showed his ability to rush the passer, what didn't show was the fact that he was being tried at two positions. A natural defensive end, Irvin was also tried at linebacker in an attempt to get him more opportunities to play. But after a short stay there, Irvin and the coaches decided it would better suit the 6'3" 235-pound junior to stay with his original position of defensive end.
"It's too late to start a new position at this point," said Irvin. "Defensive end is my best fit."
That puts at a backup spot to Julian Miller in the regular three-man defensive front in addition to his first-team duty with the four man rush package. And even though the quick defender has generated a good deal of pressure in his first two games, he's not happy with the results.
"I'm disappointed," Irvin said. "A lot of people are disappointed but [the sacks] will come. [Forcing an early throw] gives me some satisfaction and it lets them know that we're coming and there's pressure. He can't just sit in the pocket so it satisfies me."
However, Irvin hasn't been given a lot of opportunity to get the sacks that he has been hoping for because the transfer has seen limited reps in the first two games of the season. In the Mountaineers season opener against Coastal Carolina, he saw time on twelve plays and recorded a single tackle. In the second game against Marshall, Irvin had both a solo and an assisted tackle. The solo stop was a big one in the fourth quarter in which he played off a block on a running play and brought down the ball carrier, demonstrating that he's not overmatched in the run game.
"In the first game, I got twelve plays and in [the Marshall game] I got fourteen," explained Irvin. "I'm pleased with what I have done so far but I think if I get in more I could do more. I'm just playing my role right now. You always want more reps. I'm a guy with a lot of confidence so of course I want to be in a lot more than what I am, but I'm not going to complain. I'm getting in the game so it is what it is." Although he hasn't yet gotten his first takedown, Irvin believes that that first coveted sack should be coming along any time now.
"I think I got closer [to getting a sack] in the Coastal game than I did [against Marshall]," said Irvin. "I can't wait to get that first sack just to get it off of my chest. I know everyone wants to see it. When I get it, I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm going to be so excited."