Spur For Improvement

Every football player makes mistakes. It's a part of the game, but one that is met with universal antipathy by all affected. The player doesn't like them, because it could impact future playing time. Fans don't like them, because they obviously impact their team's chance to win. And coaches? It goes without saying.

However, the fact is that mistakes are going to occur. Blame human nature, the inevitability of errors, lack of preparation, or fate. Whatever the cause, there are going to be mistakes in any field of endeavor, and football games are no different.

The focus, in many instances, tends to stay on the mistake or the error that was made. Fans discuss them, coaches can obsess over them. The key for the player that made the mistake, though, is different. If he can turn it into a learning experience, and not repeat it, then value is gained. It can be an "acceptable loss".

Of course, the player involved has to bet past the teaching part first. And in the heat of battle, that can be intense. Sophomore defensive back Sidney Glover saw the backlash from having a few bad plays against Rutgers when he came off the field and was met by a very unhappy Coach Jeff Casteel toward the end of the first half. However, he was able to take the criticism and use it as a motivation for improvement.

"I take it as a challenge," said the hard-hitting Glover. "In the second half I was thinking about what he said to me. I wanted to come out and do better in the second half. Knowing your coaches, they always tell us to not take it personally. When Coach Casteel yells at me, it's for the best for me. I never take it personally. I listen to what he says and try to do what he says then I let it go."

That's a mature attitude for a still-learning and growing college student. The fact that Glover is able to do so, and separate the emotion of the moment from the education to be gained, speaks volumes about his mentality on the field. It's likely one of the reasons he has been able to gain a great deal of playing time so early in his career, and bodes well for the future.

As to the message being conveyed in this instance, Casteel was imparting the importance of picking up the tempo of Glover's game and getting lined up faster. Glover understands the necessity of that, and thinks that the defense has improved on those challenges.

"Every week you have to pick it up a little more and learn a little more of what we have changed for the week," Glover noted.

As his teammate, Chris Neild, said earlier this week, the Mountaineer team is still working to restore its national image.

"After the two losses, we came to practice the next day to watch film and you looked back and saw what we were doing wrong. We just realized that other people had to step up. We're not last year's team. After two losses, it really showed that we're not that team and people have got to step up." Despite the rough patch at the end of the first half, Glover showed flashes of the performances that he expects to make routine in the future. He had eight tackles against Rutgers, and helped hold the Scarlet Knight rushing game in check.

"We're pushing toward (where we want to be.) We're definitely not there yet. At least, we realize we're working toward it. We want to be the best defense. Of course you want to stop people during every series with a three and out."

Combining motivation, on the job corrections and attention to detail, Glover and his teammates believe they can continue to trend upward in their performance. The still young Mountaineer defense are learning their lessons, and with Casteel there to provide the occasional prod, this unit could turn out to be one of the best in WVU history.

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