Richardson, who held off challenges from Brandon Hogan and Eddie Davis for the starting berth, is preparing to see a lot more playing time and secure his spot on the field. He played in all 13 games last season, but looks forward to the challenge of being on the field at the first defensive snap.
"You play more plays (as a starter) and you have to be more conditioned than someone who is just a substitute," Richardson said of his new responsibilities.
Despite Villanova's effective passing game, which included a number of completions in the middle of the field against the Mountaineers, Richardson feels as though the defense will continue improving and will be solid this season. He acknowledges that the Mountaineer defense still has improvements to make and thinks that watching game tapes and working on their conditioning will help.
"(The defense) is going to be good," he predicted, showing the confidence with which pass defenders must play.
"By me understanding their role then I know my role and we can come together and work together," Richardson said of his defensive mentors. "It's been really good (working with Coach Lockwood.) He's broken everything down from technique to responsibility and assignments. We all have to understand our roles on defense."
The 6-1 195-pound Tallahassee native is anticipating his second start of the season, and third overall, when the Mountaineers take on East Carolina this Saturday in Greenville, N.C.
"I'm going to condition myself harder because it's going to hotter and more humid down there. I don't want to get tired or cramp up coming out of the game," Richardson said of his preparations. Richardson saw action in over 140 plays during his sophomore season with the Mountaineers. He had a season high nine tackles against Marshall. He also had one tackle in WVU's victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Last year, he had two solo stops against the Pirates.