Bruce Irvin Talks Progress in Seattle, WVU Connection - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Bruce Irvin Talks Progress in Seattle, WVU Connection

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ST. LOUIS -

Bruce Irvin crossed the field into enemy territory Monday night, looking for some familiar faces amidst all of the unfamiliar uniforms.

The former West Virginia defensive end sought out two former teammates who on that night would line up for the opposition. Irvin, in his second season with the Seattle Seahawks, wanted to spend some time during pregame catching up with Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, both rookies for the St. Louis Rams.

For the first time in their careers, though, the quick talk would be the last time they associated with one another until the game ended. They would go back to their respective sidelines and do whatever they could to beat the other team.

"It was really different," Irvin said of being opponents rather than teammates. "I love those two boys and it's a family. West Virginia is a family. I don't think people understand that."

There was one point in the game when Austin fielded a pass out in the flats only to get lit up by Brandon Browner as soon as the ball hit his hands. Irvin was the next in line if the initial defender had missed and though he was there to congratulate his current teammate, it looked as though he glanced down to make sure Austin was okay after the hit.

"If I would have gotten a chance to tackle Tavon, I probably would have missed him on purpose," Irvin said. Then he laughed and added, "Don't tell nobody that. It was good seeing those guys and hopefully they have a great rest of the season."

On this night, it was Irvin who got the better of the wide receivers. Not only did the visiting Seahawks pull off a 14-9 win after stopping the Rams on the 1-yard-line as time ran out, but Irvin's play was instrumental in setting the tone on a day when defense dominated.

The second-year player finished with nine tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and an interception. Yes, you read that right, an interception.

"I saw the play all week in practice and it just looked familiar to me," said Irvin. "When it was time to make a play, I stepped up and I made a huge play."

Irvin didn't get one of those tipped balls that lands in his lap, either. He went stride for stride with the receiver down the sideline and when quarterback Kellen Clemens overthrew the pass, Irvin leapt up to reel it in.

It was the first interception he has ever made and he admitted it caught him a little off guard.

"I never ran with the ball in my hands, but I consider myself a great athlete. I came down with the catch and got like eight or nine yards. I was gassed, but I was just happy that I caught the ball," he said with a smile.

He may have to get used to making similar plays in his new role with the Seahawks. No longer is Irvin considered a one-trick pony, lining up in obvious passing situations to rush the quarterback at defensive end and then standing on the sideline until his next turn.

He is an every down player, learning the ropes at linebacker after having served a four-game suspension to open the season.

"I'm trying to become a more complete player, but I've still got a long way to go," said Irvin, who credits position coach Ken Norton, Jr. with much of his development. "This is only my fourth game at linebacker. I was in Morgantown the first month of the season, so I'm still just getting my feet wet and the best is still to come."

That first month of the season, Irvin spent every day with his college football team. He was around the Mountaineers for their highs and lows and since he left, they have dropped three-straight.

He says he keeps in close contact with Lonnie Galloway, WVU's receivers coach and the man who recruited Irvin to Morgantown. He tries to get a sense of what has gone wrong to land the Mountaineers at 3-5 with four games remaining in the regular season. Whenever he speaks with any of the players who make up the current roster, he has the same message.

"Just keep fighting," Irvin said. "I still love my brothers and I still rep WVU no matter if we're 0-8. My message to those guys is don't listen to what the outsiders say. Keep listening to Dana [Holgorsen], keep going to work every week and practicing hard and hopefully we can turn it around and make a bowl game."

In the meantime, Irvin focuses on his current team. Seattle is in the middle of what looks like a special season, showing just one loss through eight games. Irvin is still getting accustomed to his new position and trying to show what he can do to become a major part of the Seahawks defense.

Leaping interceptions on Monday Night Football will help him prove his worth. 

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