Settling In

As one of the "new" coaches on West Virginia's football staff, Chris Beatty is going through his first preparation for fall football camp. Although he managed to squeeze in a short vacation period, it's been a busy summer for the offensive assistant.

"Right now, we are trying to get all of our handbooks, playbooks and information together [for the opening of camp next week]," Beatty said. "We want to cover situational type things to make sure all of our guys know what to do. At my position, we have a lot of new guys that will need to catch up. We have a lot of freshmen and junior college guys in my room that will need to do that and we need to get them caught up to Noel Devine and Jock Sanders and (slot receiver) Brandon Hogan. It's still new for them too. We have to make sure that they hit the ground running."

Beatty, who coaches the running backs and slot receivers, will welcome juco Zach Hulse prepster Terence Kerns and freshman Mark Rodgers to his current backfield corps, which includes Noel Devine and Michael Poitier. Changes in the offensive scheme, which have been worked on by the players over the summer, will have to be smoothed for the returnees and taught to the newcomers, which give Beatty an extra challenge. However, it's also a help in that everyone is starting with something of a clean slate, in that they all had to learn the new system together.

For Beatty, that process was a matter of repetition in the first few months of his WVU career.

"When we first got here, Coach Galloway and myself would stay late at night and review everything," he explained. "When you first move here, it's just you and the coaches, because your families aren't here yet. So we'd be up at eight in the morning, practice the routes, draw then and run them with each other, just to make sure we were on our game. The biggest thing as a coach is that you don't want to go into a meeting and not have an answer for your group. So Lonnie and I would do that, then we'd sit at night and quiz each other and make sure we knew the answer right away. You don't want to have to flip through your notebook or anything like that to look for the answer. Other than that, you study so much it becomes second nature pretty quickly."

Since they share the slot receivers in the offense (Beatty has the primary responsibility, but Galloway takes them for a handful of meetings and practice periods), the pair has been working together since their first day on campus.

"I'm in a unique situation where I work with both running backs and receivers, so I get the best of both worlds. I've always kind of been with receivers and gravitated to them, because that's what I played, so I have a good idea of the position. Coach Galloway does a lot of things that help me out, too. We can talk to each other and bounce ideas off each other. Then there are times when he takes the slots when I'm working with the running backs. We get along really well, so that helps too."

After a summer in which the coaches nave no on-field contact with players, Beatty is ready to get back on the gridiron. "I really just want to see them playing fast," he said of the improvement he'd like to see the most from the spring session. "I hope that all of the things they have been doing, the seven-on-sevens, that they have a base knowledge of what we're doing. If they run a 4.4, then I want them playing at 4.4. I don't want him playing 4.6 because he's locked up thinking. So I hope that when we hit the ground on Aug. 2, that those guys have a good idea of where they are going. Then I can teach them the techniques they need to be successful.

In his first year in a BCS league, Beatty will experience a new level of attention and expectation. While he understands that, he is also quick to note that his work ethic hasn't changed due to the level of competition.

You don't want to say you coach any group different or approach one year with more excitement, because then maybe you weren't giving your best in previous years," he observed. "I want to be clear about that. But at the same time, coaching at a different level, you have different caliber athletes and a different level of pressure to perform. It's a great deal for me to move up to this level, and I feel privileged to be here. And getting to work with these guys -- I have a great group of guys. You want to make sure you are on your game and have all your Is dotted and Ts crossed. You want to do all the little things to make sure my group is the best group on the field."


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