Since enrolling in January, Ford has gotten up to 240 pounds – and while that places him near the bottom of the curve on the scales, the 20 pounds he has added has bolstered his confidence.
"Coach Kirelawich says it's all right for right now. I guess I'll be playing at 240 pounds, and I feel very confident. Going up against the number one offensive line in the nation is just making me better every day. I really don't care about who I'm going up against, because I know they're going to be bigger and I know they're going to be stronger. I just have to play with leverage and play smart and anything can happen," Ford said.
In Kirelawich, Ford has a teacher who emphasizes technique and leverage over all, and one who has been successful with many undersized defensive linemen in the past. The history is there – if Ford can learn those same lessons as past Mountaineer linemen, he can certainly be successful.
Ford has nothing but praise for the Mountaineers' coaching staff in general and Kirelawich in particular.
"Coach Kirelawich is one of the best coaches that I have ever been coached by and along with the other coaches. I think we have one of the best coaching staff with Coach Galloway, Coach Mullen, and Coach Beatty. All the coaches are cool. They want to win just like we want to win. As a coaching staff, I think we have an A+," Ford said.
Adjusting to the size of Division I players is something that Ford has had to get used to. Besides his weight gain in the off season, Ford worked on his leverage and his pass rush skills, as he will be facing foes that outweigh him by 60 or 70 pounds. He thinks he's ready to do that, and is part of a defense that has received a great deal of preseason praise from coaches and players.
"I want to help in any way possible. Whatever I have to do to help I will do it, whether it's being in on one play or 30 plays I'll do it," Ford said of his hope to contribute. He'll be competing for playing time with junior Zac Cooper, who moved down to the end spot from the linebacker position he held a year ago.
Ford believes that the defense is ready for their first game against Villanova despite the defense's slow start this fall.
"We started off slow, real slow. Reed Williams gave a little talk and we just started flying around, hitting them in the mouth. Just playing like West Virginia defense," Ford said of the beginning of fall camp.
Ford, a South Carolina native, transferred to WVU from Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas. He had 37 tackles during his sophomore season. Ford earned second-team all-Region VI honors playing for Coffeyville in the prestigious Jayhawk Conference.