Eager and Underway

Tony Gibson isn't the only member of his family that is excited to get back to his home state -- his family is already preparing to make the move as well.

When coaches get new jobs in new locations, their families often stay behind for weeks or even months. Kids in school, getting the house ready to sell and the thousand other things that attend moving often fall to the wife and other family members, delaying their move to the new job location. Gibson's family, however, won't be among that number, because they are just as excited to get back home as the head of the house is.

"The are going to be back [to West Virginia] in about three weeks," WVU's new safeties coach said. "I think they are as fired up about it as I am."

Gibson, who "came full circle on a tour of the U.S.," reiterated that getting back to his home state was very important to him. Although he felt like he had to take the offer to coach at Michigan when it came (he had no guarantee of a job at West Virginia, and no idea who the coach would be, he said it was not easy to pull up stakes and go. However, his role as the provider for the family made the sure job offer one that he had to take.

Gibson understands that not all Mountaineer fans will get that, and that some still view him in a less than favorable light. However, his enthusiasm at being back home at the school he loves should be apparent to anyone that speaks with him. When jobs in the secondary came open, he was quick to make his interest known.

"Keith Patterson and I stayed in touch after our year at Pitt," he said of the ties that he maintained. "We kept talking, and when we met again at the coaches convention, it just all worked out. No matter where I've been, I've always wanted to be able to come back."

Gibson should be able to be a bit ahead of the curve in teaching Patterson's system to the safeties, as he had a year of indoctrination to the system while the two were at Pitt.

"It's pretty much the same coverages [from Pitt] he said. "It's his system, and it won't be much of an adjustment. With the safeties, we want guys who are physical, be cause they will both be rolling down into the box sometimes to play against the run, and the have to stand up in there. But they have to be coverage guys too. Whether we're playing quarters, halves, deep thirds or man, they have to be versatile."

Finding those layers that can run with swift wide receivers but also take on blockers and bring down big backs in the hole is a challenge, but Gibson thinks WVU has a pair of players that are a very good base from which to start. Karl Joseph and Darwin Cook really stand out. I've already watched film [of the defense], and those two show up a lot, partly because they played a lot, but also because they are versatile. They can do both of those jobs."

Defenders that can meet all of those challenges aren't available in droves, so Gibson knows that at times he will have to recruit a player that doesn't have the entire package right off the bat. In those instances, he said he leans toward taking the players that have coverage skills.

"If I have to choose one over the other, that's the way I'd go," Gibson said. "If they can cover and run, it's a little easier to teach them run support and getting up toward the line. That's something I think we can do."


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