Joe DeForest said that there has been a lot of focus on taking the ball away this off season. Last year the team was 68th overall in total interceptions, and 128th in recovered fumbles. West Virginia's coaching staff will emphasize the importance of taking the ball away more than ever. DeForest said turnover margin is the key.
While the Kyle Rose situation continues to be handled internally, other players have been able to step into the breach and take more reps on the defensive line. With both Noble Nwachukwu and Christian Brown held out of Saturday's scrimmage, defensive line coach Bruce Tall discussed several of the backups who saw substantial action. He started with Darrien Howard, who brings a combination of explosiveness and good hands to the defensive line. As a sophomore, Howard played in 43 snaps on defense and accounted for six total solo tackles. He'll be counted on for much more productivity this year.
Almost mimicking Tall's words, Tony Gibson credited Howard as well, and while mentioning the depleted numbers up front didn't use that as an excuse for the results of the day.