Good(e) Results

After having what he described as a "pretty good" spring, sophomore linebacker Najae Goode suffered an ankle injury last week that took the linebacker out of practice. During the spring, when practice time is so limited, every minute counts, which is something Goode learned the hard way.

"Last week I hurt my ankle and when I got hurt it stepped things back a little bit," said Goode, who is fighting for playing time. "I tried to get in there and play hurt but that didn't help. Going full speed is the thing on our team and on our defense. It's hurt me a little bit. The coaches want to see consistency. The defense is going to have to keep playing hard and keep running to the ball. Right now, Coach Casteel is preaching about being consistent.

At a time when the Mountaineers' are looking to fill the third spot at linebacker, there are many players, including Goode, fighting for that final spot as a starter at the strongside backer postion. However, he would be willing to step into any of the three positions.

"I feel like I am pretty comfortable with learning (all three of them,)" said Goode. "I learned the positions last year. I played the mike (middle/inside linebacker), sam (strong side linebacker) and the will (weak side linebacker.) This spring has been reinforcing everything and I feel like I know them pretty well. (I like) the will because you just get to run around and run into people."

Goode is hoping to earn that third spot on the line alongside seniors Reed Williams and J. T. Thomas. Goode credits the two players for helping to get him comfortable on the second level of the defense.

"J.T. was assigned as my big brother when I first got here," said Goode. "He's helped me with getting good footwork and good technique. I've been learning from him the whole time. Reed is just a genius on the defense. He knows how to watch film and study the game. They both help me with working hard and being a student of the game."

During a spring in which the defense has held the upper hand more often than not, Goode has pleased with what he and his teammates have accomplished.

"As a defense, as a whole, we have been playing together as a unit," said Goode. "Coach Casteel said he liked how if we get a play or do good we come together in the huddle. Right now as a defense, we're stepping up and we're playing. We have to keep playing with consistency. Even if we give up some plays, we will come back and do it again."

Goode is glad to have a break from football as spring practice wrapped up Saturday but he feels like it won't be very long until he's back on the field.

"I'm happy but you know it's right around the corner and then here comes the season," said Goode with a laugh.

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