A large part of the middle of the Mountaineer defense this season has fallen on the shoulders of senior linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo who is carrying a large role on this year’s team as a veteran.
Before the Mountaineers head onto the field again at Milan Puskar Stadium this weekend, Chandler-Semedo caught up with the media on Tuesday to discuss his play on defense as well as the upcoming Virginia Tech game.
“They (Virginia Tech) definitely like to pinpoint your weaknesses and attack them, that’s one thing I’ve seen,” Chandler-Semedo said. “What they showed against North Carolina and what they showed against Middle Tennessee were both very different, but they were both very successful in what they did because they went exactly at what their weaknesses were.”
Chandler-Semedo has played his entire college football career in Morgantown since 2018 when he was used primarily as a special team’s player where he saw more than 100 snaps. That freshman season also gave the Canton, Ohio native the chance to fill in at the will linebacker position where he added some much-needed depth.
Sophomore year was when the starting snaps and greater playing time truly kicked in as Chandler-Semedo started nine out of 10 games total with seven of those coming at will linebacker and two games at mike linebacker. The linebacker was also the second-leading tackler on the team that season collecting 72 total tackles.
The switching of positions hasn’t seemed to phase the Mountaineer at all, only seeming to help him see the field in different ways and understand more about playing the linebacker position. Chandler-Semedo has been seeing most of his playing time at the will linebacker spot this year.
“Being on the outside definitely added a different dynamic,” Chandler-Semedo said. “Being able to see the full field a lot but now that I’m back in the box it definitely makes the world kind of seem a lot smaller especially at what you see but having the knowledge of playing out there I know what’s going on outside so it definitely helps me.”
Even due to a cut into daily activities with the COVID-19 pandemic swarming the nation between Chandler-Semedo’s sophomore and junior years the Mountaineer seemed to pick up right where he left off finishing No. 8 in the Big 12 with 7.1 tackles per game.
Although the linebacker may love to play his sport on Saturday’s in packed stadiums full of Mountaineer fans, Chandler-Semedo knows the importance of balance and making time for both football work and school work.
“Being smart on the field is knowing what’s coming at you, being able to diagnose plays, being smart off the field we’re all in college so I would probably say classroom stuff,” Chandler-Semedo said.
That season also saw the linebacker record a pair of 10-plus tackle performances which speaks to how often Chandler-Semedo can be found around the ball.
Chandler-Semedo explained the transition from last season into this season and how he seemed to have much more time to prepare for the season than this time last year.
“There’s a lot more traffic but I had spring ball, I had all summer and I played in the middle a lot last year and I played against Iowa State in a bowl game, so I definitely got my feet wet in there a lot,” Chandler-Semedo said.
This season has been no different as the opener at Maryland a couple weeks ago saw Chandler-Semedo make 10 tackles while only coming down with five last week against Long Island.
The Mountaineers will continue to reap off the quality play at linebacker this season heading into Big 12 play and some of the most important kickoffs of the year against ranked teams in a power five conference.
“We definitely just look at it as an opportunity, everybody in the Big 12 is pretty much usually ranked around this time especially Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State so it’s really not much of a difference, the only thing is we played an out of conference team instead of a regular Big 12 team,” Chandler-Semedo said.
Chandler-Semedo will look to again begin this weekend where he left off against Long Island last week and continue to be a tackling machine in the middle of the West Virginia defensive attack.