Freeman Force

Defensive end Kevin Freeman doesn't get the notoriety that many of his defensive linemates garner, but he's become a steady force in the Mountaineers' excellent defense nonetheless.

Look down the defensive stats for the leading tackler on the defensive line, and you might be in for a bit of a shock. For it's not David Upchurch, Tim Love, or Jason Davis who leads the Mountaineer front three in tackles -- it's Freeman.

"Everybody makes plays in the defense," Freeman said after WVU's crushing win over Syracuse. "Last year we played more gap responsibility. Now, we do more shuffling, especially on the backside. We understand what we're supposed to do in this defense, and when we do it, we make plays."

Freeman has been making a lot of them since moving into a starting role at the end of last year, but for some reason he doesn't pop up on the radar screen much. This, despite his 26 tackles (three behind the line), two sacks and two forced fumbles. Could the lack of attention help him get overlooked by opponents when they gameplan for the Mountaineers?

"You could say it's an advantage. I started playing at the end of last year, and I had the chance to make some plays, but injuries kind of limited me.

"It doesn't really matter whether they notice me or not."

With that lack of concern for getting in the spotlight, Freeman is likely to do just that. His play this year, while not gathering a great deal of publicity, is one of the main reasons the Mountaineers are in the top twenty in several defensive categories.


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