Searching For Leadership

West Virginia's new defense will be without its vocal leaders from last year. There isn't a Keith Tandy or Eain Smith in the secondary. There isn't a Najee Goode in the middle. And there definitely isn't a Bruce Irvin or Julian Miller up front.

In the new defense, it will be a new group of leaders, which the players seem to be OK with.

"I was a little surprised, because we would struggle against the offense last year even when they were just putting it out," said linebacker Doug Rigg. "It's good now that we have an entirely new defense and we're stopping them more than I thought we would. That's a great sign."

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said he's been surprised at the defense's ability to stop the high-powered offense this spring.

"The defense has done well. We'll make some plays on them, but then they make some stops, we make some plays, then they get some stops. I'm happy with the competitive nature where we're at," the second-year head coach said. "We've still got a long ways to go from an assignment standpoint and from a schematic standpoint."

The most veteran player on the defense, safety Terence Garvin, is out this spring due to offseason surgery. Another experienced player, cornerback Pat Miller broke a small bone in his foot two weeks ago and will miss the rest of spring practice.

Outside of those two, the most veteran player on the defense is tackle Jorge Wright.

"I like this defense a lot. There's a lot of differences, but then again there's a lot of similarities," he said. "It's a new learning curve, but it's been good so far."

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