King Looking To Excel In New Role

Any change of position can be difficult for a young college student. And while it sounds simple to the average fan, the change from cornerback to safety is a much bigger switch than many realize.

This spring, as is the case every spring, a number of Mountaineers are trying out new positions during spring practices. Some players will find success at their new spots, while others will struggle. Some will be happy with their new roles, while others will long to get back to their old spot on the field. Some of the changes will become permanent, while others will be only an experiment.

One Mountaineer, however, is thrilled with his position change and is determined to make the change permanent.

"This may be the best thing that could have happened for me" commented senior defender Brian King on his move from the corner position to free safety. "I feel that the opportunities for me to make plays both against the run and against the pass are endless from the safety position. I will have the chance to see the entire field and make plays from sideline to sideline. I'm very excited and looking forward to learning the position."

Mountaineer head coach Rich Rodriquez, who is beginning his third spring as the head Mountaineer, agrees. He believes that King's athletic ability. along with his vast knowledge of the game, give him a great chance at success at the free safety spot.

"His ability to organize the defense, see the whole field, and get guys in the right place will be huge" the coach explained. "You want a guy who can cover for some mistakes and make plays in the open field at the safety position. We believe that Brian can do just that and his veteran knowledge and his strengths should make him a really good free safety."

King, who is best remembered by Mountaineer fans for his game-ending interception last season in Blacksburg, believes that the move will also help his chances of playing at the next level, the dream of virtually every college player who puts on the pads each Saturday.

"To be honest, I don't know how many teams would draft a white cornerback" King admitted. "Teams are more likely to draft an athlete who can play all of the special teams positions and make plays at a safety type position. I'm at 183 now and I think if I can come into camp about 190, keep my speed, and make some plays my senior year, I will have a shot (at the NFL)."

The six-foot senior is well aware that success is not going to come without exhausting work at learning the new position.

"I did play a safety position in high school, but nothing I remember from that time compares to what I am learning now," King explained. He'll not only be responsible for his own position, but will need to understand everything that is happening on the Mountaineer defense.

"I will basically be the quarterback of the defense" explained the Damascus, Md., product. "I'll be responsible for calling out formations and making sure that everyone is in the right spot."

King has never been one to back down from a challenge, and everyone around the Mountaineer camp is sure that the Big East academic all-star will make the best of the change. He has been one of the last Mountaineers to leave the field each day at the conclusion of practice after spending extra time working on his new position.

The move also allows the Gold and Blue to move junior Jahmile Addae to the bandit spot and get the best eleven players on the field at once. If King and Addae can quickly learn their new positions, this Mountaineer defense, that many consider a big question mark, could turn into a strength.

So don't be surprised if King, once again, comes up with a big play to seal yet another West Virginia win. It might be from a different position on the field, but it won't be a surprise to see number 11 making more game turning plays for the Mountaineer defense.

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