Defensive Shuffle Continues

With the walking wounded getting better and returning to the practice and playing fields, position swaps continue to be a staple of the Mountaineer defense.

From Day One, the football coaching staff has maintained that they want recruits that are able to play more than one position.

That philosophy is being carried out with the current squad, as injuries and perfromance questions have forced numerous changes in the first month of the season.

With the return of Shawn Hackett, Antwan Lake and Jason Davis, it was thought that the merry-go-round might cease, but it continued at top speed against Kent State.

One week whip Brian King returned to cornerback and displaced incumbent Lance Frazier. Jason Davis moved outside from his tackle spot to replace Tim Love at end. And Corey McIntyre retained a linebacker starting spot despite the return of Adam Lehnortt.

"We had been playing Jason Davis at tackle, but he really seems to be better suited at end," head coach Rich Rodriguez says. "We consider Tim Love a starter too, so that gives us three ends (along with James Davis) that we are comfortable with."

Rodriguez doesn't expect to be able to get through the season with only three ends, so the question of moving McIntyre back outside has already arisen. With Grant Wiley's hamstring injury still an issue, Rodriguez says he can't afford to do that just yet.

"We hope that Grant will be able to practice by Wednesday and then play against Maryland, but until we're sure we can't move Corey. For this week at least, he'll stay at linebacker."

The best of all possible worlds for WVU would be to get Wiley back into the lineup, which would allow McIntyre to sub in at both linebacker and end. That would give the Mountaineers seven players at the four positions (DEs Love, Davis and Davis, LBs Wiley, Kayden and Lehnortt, with McIntyre as a swing player).

This also depends on Lehnortt, who played with a much smaller wrap on his injured thumb against Kent, and looked reasonable comfortable. Lehnortt had a late sack to snuff out a Golden Flash drive.

Continuity is as important to the defense as to the offense, and there's no doubt the shuffling has affected the play on that side of the ball. The hope in the Mountaineer camp is that locking down positions will help the defense improve, especially against the run.

WVU's rushing defense needs more plays like this

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