After Saturday's scrimmage West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson was content with the effort his first team unit, and why wouldn't he be? The talk of fall camp and the offseason as a whole has revolved around the offense and the wealth of talent that's returning on that side of the ball. But the first team defense that is now replacing its entire back eight dominated Saturday afternoon's scrimmage, forcing four turnovers and allowing just one field goal in 10 series against the Mountaineers offense. Gibson spoke about what his unit did well in the 100-plus play scrimmage.
"I thought we tackled well," Gibson said. "(There's) still a long way to go. (I'm) happy with Jeremy Tyler, we played him at free safety today and he made some plays. I think he had two picks. I'm happy with where he's at and I expect that from him. He's an older guy who's played a bunch and he was in a battle with Dravon (Askew-Henry) for the starting spot two years ago. I thought he did really well and he's going to keep coming along an we'll see what we can do with him."
Tyler's performance at free safety may be the biggest news coming out of the scrimmage as he is tasked with replacing Dravon Askew-Henry for the season after the junior free safety suffered a season ending injury last week. Tyler had been primarily working at the bandit and helping provide depth at the spur position until Askew-Henry's injury, but it seems as if he is making a seamless transition to the free safety spot that he played during his first two years at West Virginia.
While Tyler impressed the third year defensive coordinator the defense seemingly flustered the offense all day and Gibson spoke about the overall effort of his unit.
"It was good just to see our guys come out and play hard," Gibson said. "The offense had been getting after us the last couple of days and I don't know if it had anything to do with what happened to Dravon and if guys were feeling sorry for themselves or whatever it may be but today they were running. I saw our guys give a lot of great effort and I was happy with that."
Aside from effort and the ability to overcome adversity Gibson wanted to see some schematic adjustments as well, namely how his defense would perform in man coverage and in the nickle package, which will no doubt be used in the wide open Big 12.
"I wanted to see our guys in man (coverage)," Gibson said. "We threw our nickle package out there a bunch and I wanted to see if our guys could hold up on third down and try to create some stops."
Gibson also spoke about Toyous Avery's performance in the scrimmage. Avery, who is also a free safety, could help Tyler ease the sting of Askew-Henry's loss if he can be game-ready by the time the season roles around.
"Toyous made some good plays," Gibson said. "He met 25 (Justin Crawford) in the hole one time and he got the bad end of that one but he didn't blow any assignments and this is the most reps he has gotten with the ones. We're happy with Toyous and he's still got a learning curve but with the three weeks we have I'm comfortable with where we're at at this point."