The Davis Shuffle

Senior linebacker James Davis has seen opposing offenses from several different vantage points during his WVU career.

With the senior linebacker now set at an outside linebacker position that seems better suited for his talents, observers might believe that Daivs is 100% at home. However, the speedy Floridian notes that there is still some adjusting to do before he can be fully comfortable and play on instinct alone.

"Sometimes it can be confusing, so you really have to think about it," Davis said of the position switches. "When you get in the games, you're just going, and you just want to react. But sometimes it will just hit you -- ‘Man, I shouldn't be doing that right now'. And then you have to scramble back and recover. It can get confusing."

Considering that Davis has played safety, defensive end and various linebacker positions during his career, it's no wonder that different assignments and schemes occasionally swirl through his thoughts. Like maany other defenders on the team, however, Davis believes that the 3-3 odd stack will allow him to use his talents to the fullest.

As a player with a build more like a strong safety than a defensive back, Davis sees himself running in the open field on defense and pursuing to the ball.

"I picture running to the ball and trying to get to the ball. That's what I pictured myself doing when I got here, so I'm looking forward to doing that."

Davis, whose smile belies a fierce intensity on the field, thinks that the intensity of practice has ratcheted up a good deal over the past couple of sessions. According to Davis, however, that wasn't entirely due to the excitement of getting back on the field, or a carryover from the off time of spring break.

"What happened was that the offense started talking some noise to the defense, and the defense was talking back, so we came out to try to beat on each other a little bit," noted Davis. "There was some good hitting going on.

The intensity figures to carry over as practice resumes this week after three days off following Saturday's scrimmage, and Davis can be counted as one of those who is anxious to get back on the field.

"We were disappointed when practice got delayed on the first day. We were all ready. We've been studying the defense, and we were looking forward to getting out on the field and playing it and working on it. After this off time, we'll be really anxious to get back out on the field.

Davis is one of the players that will be counted on to reverse the bad defensive trends of last season. He should fare well against the pass and in pursuit and on blitzes, but the crucial factor will be in how well he stands up to a power running game.

If Davis is successful in that play phase, the Mountaineer defense could again be a respected unit among opponents.


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