Daryl Worley was asked an honest question: What are your goals? The answer was equally as honest, and delivered with the kind of flatline response better suited to hour three of a day long deposition.
“I’ve been trying to perfect everything,” Worley said. “The things I felt I was good at, I want to be great at.” Earlier, he issued a dagger, noting that he wants to win the Jim Thorpe Award. You know, the one earned by the top defensive back in college football. Worley, a sophomore, enters the 2014 season as perhaps the best mix of hype, talent and future promise that Mountaineer football can offer. And the Philadelphia native seems primed with the intelligence, understanding and experience to meet those expectations. But not even the most egregious of optimists would think that Worley is among perhaps even the longest of shots to win an award given to the likes of Deion Sanders, Patrick Peterson, Roy Williams and Charles Woodson.
“I know what I’m looking for at outside corner,” Worley said of the Mountaineer coaching staff’s decision to lock players into one position, a master-of-one-trade approach. “But if they want me to move back inside, I am ready. We are all willing to work and put it on the line for each other. We are going to be flying around.”
West Virginia Director of Strength and Conditioning Mike Joseph tagged Worley as the most consistent weight room performer – Worley called law school hill an “uphill hell session” – and lauded the sophomore for his work ethic. Cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell has noted that Worley has a high football IQ and “just gets it.”
“He means that I understand the game,” Worley said. “Whether we are in a film session or out there on the field, I have always been a fast learner. I’m picking up things so fast. I’ll be on point.”
And it’s not that Worley seems overconfident. It’s more than he doesn’t want to undercut himself with less than stellar goals. The 6-1, 198-pounder played in 11 games as a true freshman last season, starting five. He made 45 tackles, 36 solo, and had a pick. He was second on the team with five pass break-ups. But he might be just the second-best WVU secondary player in the mind of Mountaineer fans, safety Karl Joseph still holding sway because of his past big hits.
"It’s an uphill hell session. Nobody wants to do it. But at the end of the day, it brought the heart and soul out of everyone.” -WVU CB Daryl Worley, on running law school hill
Worley’s first challenge – he’ll be matched at times against the opposing team’s best wideout – will be Alabama’s Amari Cooper, a consensus first-team Freshman All-American in 2012 who caught a team-best 45 passes for 736 yards – a 16.4 ypc average – for four touchdowns. That production was a significant dropoff, greater than 25 percent across the board, from his freshman season marks of 1,000 yards on 59 receptions for 11 scores.
“Everything I struggled at, I wanted to get better,” Worley said. “Between the weight room and the film, the coaches on the field, I wanted to better everything. I know as long as I’m getting better, the team will be progressing.”
Worley also addressed the opener against Alabama, expected to be ranked in the top three when preseason polls are released. "We wouldn’t rather be playing anyone else," he said. "It’s going to be a great game on both sides of the ball. They are going to bring it, and we know we certainly are going to bring it. … That’s one thing we did trademark for ourselves: Bleed. We are going to bleed for our brothers.”