Joe DeForest Turns Focus to WVU Defense - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Joe DeForest Turns Focus to WVU Defense

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MORGANTOWN -

With signing day behind him, Joe DeForest is looking forward to getting to work on learning more about the players already on campus.

"Obviously I got here two weeks ago and left recruiting like the very next day, so I've been in Florida recruiting the last two weeks," DeForest said Wednesday. "I spent a couple days here just getting used to the players, got to see the players run around a little bit yesterday, so that was really the first time I got exposed to them."

Now that he's getting that exposure, DeForest and the current pieces of the defensive staff will begin to shape the future WVU defense around the personnel they work with in the coming months.

It seems at this point the personnel will be the biggest key to the way the co-defensive coordinator's unit lines up throughout the season. While the base defense is likely to feature more of a 3-4 look, there is little doubt that the 4-3 will be a significant part of the Mountaineers' 2012 game plan.

"It's a little bit of both," says DeForest. "We've just got to figure out what we have and try to fit those pieces in the puzzle until we can recruit to what we eventually want to do, whatever that may be."

DeForest points out that the differences between the two schemes are so small that he believes the same players could be used in a variety of looks to keep offenses guessing in a way that would prove beneficial to the Mountaineers.

Safeties coach Steve Dunlap, the lone remaining defensive assistant from the Orange Bowl staff, believes the transition will go smoothly as a 3-4 is essentially what the players were asked to run in the old SWAT package.

For the second-straight season, the Mountaineers will lose two of their top three defensive linemen. Who fills those positions will go a long way in determining the success West Virginia can have defensively.

Shaq Rowell came to WVU last season as a junior college transfer and failed to have the immediate impact he hoped he could, but did come on near the season's end and provide depth behind Jorge Wright.

Wright admitted around the time of the bowl game that he may move to more of a tackle position depending on what personnel decisions are made around him, and that still may be the case if that would put the three best players on the line.

"There aren't enough big d-linemen in the country, so at the very heart, you're very limited in the amount of guys that you can get to rush the passer," says DeForest. "The big four-down guys, you don't get that, so you've got to adjust your scheme accordingly to what you have on your campus."

Unfortunately for DeForest, he has absolutely no idea what he has on campus yet.

"I mean, I have no idea. I don't know who's who yet," he says. "I don't know any of the players' names yet. I'm going to have to learn through other coaches telling me who they are and then watch tape and sort of clue in jersey numbers to faces and then see them out there."

While that could be seen as a detriment to the planning process, it can also be a blessing in disguise, especially for the athletes fighting for those positions.

Just as the offensive staff gave every potential candidate a fair shot at playing time, the defense is set to do the same. While technically not an entirely new staff, the fresh start at the top is a good sign for many of the younger talents on the team.

"Everybody gets to start over and the new guys coming in obviously it's a benefit for them because they only come in 15 days behind as opposed to coming in two and three years behind in the scheme," says DeForest. "So I think as a recruit, you're probably going, ‘I have a pretty good chance of playing early because it's a new scheme for everybody.'"

Now in addition to finding the best 11 athletes to put on the field, DeForest and Dana Holgorsen are putting the finishing touches on putting together the best defensive staff for the sidelines and press box.

When asked if there's a timeline for completing the roster of coaches, DeForest said, "That's a Coach Holgorsen question."

If only signing day referred to staff as well.

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