With the spring season in the books for the West Virginia University football season, the team will be focused on summer conditioning, individual drills and preparation for the 2015 season.
One area where the Mountaineers should excel in the new year is on the defensive side of the ball.
West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson returns with a veteran group that has a ton of game experience in both the Big 12 and the bowl season.
Coming out of spring, Gibson says he came away pleased with the improvement with overall tackling and turnover margin, something the defense struggled with in 2014.
Gibson understands that expectations are high this year for his defense, and he isn’t shying away. West Virginia has no intention of running from those lofty expectations, but they’re ready to embrace them.
“We have a lot of people back and expectations are high. We set a standard of how we play and how we want to play,” Gibson said. “We’re not backing down and I’m not hiding behind anything.”
“We’re expected to be great. I want us to be the best defense in the country, and I think we’ll hit that goal because how hungry and how our kids will work over the summer.”
“I’m not coming off that.” Gibson said.
West Virginia used several blitz packages last year to throw off Big 12 offensive, something that helped the Mountaineers upset Baylor at home last season.
That defensive mindset will continue this season.
“If you sit and call base coverage and base fronts your kids get bored with that,” Gibson said. “When you’re calling pressure you see it, and they start reacting, playing faster, harder and more excited about that.
“It’s the personality of our defense.” he said.
Confidence on the defensive side of the ball is something that has been missing in Morgantown for some time. Although WVU improved last season, work needs to continue to improve on the 76th overall ranking in 2014.
Throw out the stats from the last several years, Gibson is hanging his hat on this team having the best defensive unit in the country this season.
“We’re throwing it out, so it’s on you and it’s on me… and we’re not coming off that.”