2012 Mountaineer Football: Introducing the New West Virginia Defense

Bob AllenCorrespondent IIMarch 5, 2012

How does the old saying go? "Out with the old and in with the new?" Well, the Mountaineer defense has done just that.

Jeff Casteel and his unique 3-3-5 stack has left to join Rich Rodriguez in Arizona. Casteel, after 11 years at West Virginia, has taken coaches Bill Kirelawich and David Lockwood with him; the three coaches have a combined 49 years of coaching with the Mountaineers. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Coach Holgorsen has spent the past few weeks recruiting and piecing together his new defensive staff. It has not all gone according to plan, but after an eventful search, he has found his defensive coaches for the 2012 season. Coach Holgorsen laid out the responsibilities of each defensive coach during a football media luncheon on Monday. 

Joe DeForest, who last year served as Oklahoma States special teams coordinator, will be co-defensive coordinator along with Keith Patterson and will also be the safeties coach.

Patterson will be co-defensive coordinator along with DeForest and he will also coach linebackers. Patterson, who last season was the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh under Todd Graham and served as interim head coach during the BBVA Compass Bowl when Graham left for Arizona State, has experience running the 3-4 and 4-3 defense that Holgorsen wants to transition to.

Erik Slaughter will handle the defensive line. Slaughter comes from Stephen F. Austin, where he also coached the defensive line. Slaughter, it seems, had an incident several decades ago while he was a high school coach. Fans in my opinion should not be concerned, since it was not brought up as an issue for the first time until 18 years after the so-called incident, when Slaughter was up for another high school head coaching job.

Daron Roberts, who last year was one of the two receivers coaches, will move from the offense to the defense to supervise the Mountaineer cornerbacks. 

Steve Dunlap is no longer serving as the safeties coach on the defensive side of the ball; instead, he will become West Virginia's assistant head coach and special teams coordinator, filling a void that should relieve some of the struggles that we witnessed last season without a dedicated special teams boss.

The defensive scheme will transition from the 3-3-5 stack to a 3-4 or 4-3, which should also improve future recruiting since this is a scheme that is used more widely in college football and the NFL.

It will be even more important for returning defensive players like Terence Garvin, Pat Miller, Will Clarke and Darwin Cook to step up big to fill the void vacated by seniors Bruce Irvin, Julian Miller, Najee Goode and Keith Tandy. They will also have to aid and assist in guiding our freshmen to become comfortable, effective and future leaders of this defense.

With Holgorsen adjusting and adding to the staff the way he wants, it should be easy to say that any awkwardness that was present last season with Jeff Casteel should no longer be a factor. All of this should prove to make the Mountaineers more comfortable and successful.