WVU Looks to Overcome Defensive Struggles
WVU’s secondary has struggled early on this season but coaches remain hopeful.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Through the first two weeks of the season, West Virginia University’s secondary has been far from impressive. In the season opener against Virginia Tech, Mountaineer fans saw several blown coverages.
Veteran safety Dravon Askew-Henry owned up to the mishap and is looking forward to redeeming themselves.
“First off, I apologized to my coaches and teammates for that,” he said. “I shouldn’t do that, even if it was my fault or the other person’s fault, I shouldn’t do that. That just goes back to communication, that is why that happened.”
But the safeties appeared to be on the same page during game two. Kyzir White had two interceptions, which was an improvement over the course of the week.
Both Askew-Henry and White had five tackles and a pass breakup.
However, the cornerback position has been a constant struggle. Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson sees that the potential is there.
“We are not happy right now at corner,” he said. “We need to keep searching to find the guy. I am not down on them; they just need to be able to finish plays a little better and have confidence in what they do. They are all good players. They have great confidence in practice and then we get to the game and I don’t know what happens to them. We have to keep coaching them up, keep working on that and keep developing depth there.”
Inexperience is partly to blame for the struggles at corner.
“A lot of them, it is their first time out there playing and getting a lot of snaps,” Askew-Henry said. “They are getting better as it goes on. I have faith in those guys and I know they are doing a good job.”
“We have had some inconsistency in technique and finishing on the play, which we will get better at,” cornerbacks coach Doug Belk said. “We have a lot of guys who do not have experience getting thrown in there fast. I wouldn’t say disappointed, but there are a lot of things we need to work on.”
Currently, WVU’s cornerbacks are focused on improving their technique.
“It is just consistency in technique. Trying to do some different things as far as how they play, press off, some bail techniques,” Belk said. “We just have to be more consistent transitioning those things from meetings to the practice field to game situations.”
One player that could benefit the corners is freshman Kenny Robinson.
The 6-foot-2, 202-pound safety turned cornerback saw some action against East Carolina in the third quarter and did well. Robinson had two solo tackles and a pass breakup.
With his performance, the Wilkinsburg, PA native is likely to see more action against Delaware State.
The Hornets’ offense is ranked 100th in FCS schools in scoring and have turned the ball over four times this season. Their wide receivers are averaging 160.5 yards per game. Therefore, the Mountaineers’ secondary may be able to boost their confidence with a big game.
Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS