Coach's Take on DT Keilen Dykes

West Virginia Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel is next up in's Coach's Perspective series. Casteel speaks with Dusty Wittig about his former defensive tackle, Keilen Dykes. Find out what Casteel has to say about Dykes's leadership ability, his mother Cookie, his greatest play and much more in this exclusive.

Dusty Wittig: In your words what kind of player is Keilen Dykes?

Jeff Casteel: Dykes was a big, strong, and physical football player for us. I believe he started three maybe four years here and was a guy who was a leader for us on our defensive line. To characterize his play he was a big and physical presence for us.

DW: What is the best part about Keilen's game?

JC: I think he is an instinctive player. He also has exceptional upper-body strength. He played well with his hands and dominated for us. We played him as a nose guard and an end. He was a kid that people normally had to double team to take care of.

DW: What are some things that he needs to improve?

JC: He needs to keep refining his technique and keep improving as a pass rusher. Those are the things that he will need to do on that level. He was an outstanding player for us during the four years.

DW: What kind of guy is Keilen off of the field?

JC: He is a great guy. He was a kid that got along with everybody. He was a leader in the locker room and was a kid that guys would go to for advice and help. He was like a big brother to the younger players on our football team. He has a great personality and is always smiling. He is a great guy off of the field.

DW: What is the best hit/play you have seen Keilen make?

JC: He has made a lot of plays for us. I don't know that any one stands out from the others, but he made a ton of plays over his four years here. The thing with Keilen is that he was always a consistent player and always made the plays that he needed to make when the situation arose. One play that does stick out for me was last season when we were playing Cincinnati. They were driving inside our twenty yard line and Keilen beat the double team on a pass rush, knocked the ball loose and recovered the fumble. This was at a critical part of the football game.

DW: How would you describe his leadership skills?

JC: He has outstanding leadership skills. He has been a leader for the team and in the defensive line room for the past three years. He was a captain for us and everybody looked up to him. He is a kid that coaches would go to make sure that other guys were doing the right things.

DW: How do you think Keilen will adjust to the NFL caliber talent he will be facing?

JC: I think that he will adjust well. He has played against good players throughout his whole career. I don't think the adjustment will be too big. I think he will do a great job. He is hungry and it has been a goal of his to make it to that level. He has a great attitude and work ethic, so I think he will adjust well to that level.

DW: How do you think Keilen is going to make the team?

JC: He will go in and work hard to do what's asked of him. I'm sure whatever role that they are going to ask him to fill he will do his best to do it. He is a team player.

DW: What is your favorite memory about Keilen?

JC: The thing that sticks out in my mind is that if we would ever have any issue with him, we would threaten to call his mother Cookie. He comes from a great family, but if he ever got out of line, we would threaten to call Cookie. That would always work too.

DW: Is there anything else that you would like to say about Keilen?

JC: Just that we are all rooting for him and know that he is going to do a great job there. I hope it works out and that he fulfills his dream. He has a whole bunch of people here at West Virginia rooting for him.

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