In any three-down linemen set, the nose tackle can be one of the most important positions on the field. They clog up the middle on run plays and help pass rushers from being double teamed on pass downs. But even though WVU's previous defense and the current one both have three-down linemen, the nose tackle's responsibilities differ.
Last season under former defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and his 3-3-5 defense, Jorge Wright replaced current Washington Redskin Chris Neild as the big guy in the middle on defense. He started 12 of the Mountaineers 13 games and played admirably as well.
"I didn't have any experience starting (before last season)," Wright said. "I played some but never knew the feeling of being a starter. Now I have a lot of games started under my belt and it's just a different feeling knowing that you have to do better than what you did last year. Like if I went out there last year and did okay or played good, now I know this year I have to play great."
Casteel is now at the University of Arizona and Keith Patterson and Joe DeForest are the new defensive coordinators, bringing in a new 3-4 defense.
"Last year in the 3-3-5 with playing nose, I was more of a head-up technique," Wright said. "In this defense I will never be head-up, I will always be shaded to a side."
When the nose tackle plays head-up, he is lined up directly over the center and the football. Also when they play head-up, their main responsibility is to take up blockers. When they shade, they play to either side of the center and push the gap between the center and the guard. Wright believes this change will allow him to become more of a playmaker on the field.
"Now that I'm shading, I have more of a responsibility to make plays and get to my gap responsibility and doing a lot of things to make a defensive play rather than just taking up a man or being responsible for certain people," Wright said.
Although Wright has a chance to get after the players in the backfield like the quarterback and running back, he still enjoys being a hat on a hat in the trenches.
When asked if the new style was more fun than the previous, Wright responded, "I like getting after the guy in front of me too. I'd say it's about half and half."
In the new scheme, the Buck Linebacker position is introduced. He can either bring pressure from the outside linebacker spot or he can drop back into coverage.
"With the Buck position, even though he might sometimes drop back into coverage, they're pretty much on the line all of the time," Wright said. "Having four people on the line is always better than having three in this scheme and what this defense can bring to the table."
In his final season with the Mountaineers, Wright hopes to set the tone for what to expect from future nose tackles in this defensive scheme.