April 14, 2008

Defense primed to shine on Saturday

MORGANTOWN--With yet another dominating performance during Monday's practice, the West Virginia University defense may have cemented its status as the surprise story of spring football practice. Despite losing a pair of stud linemen, a starting linebacker, and nearly the entire secondary from last year's decorated unit, a youth movement has re-energized defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel's group.

"They're right on cue," WVU head coach Bill Stewart said. "I keep bragging on their effort. The speed on that side of the ball is outstanding. Now, I don't know if they're going to be among the nation's best again. But the potential is there."

After ranking seventh nationally in total defense last season, it seemed that the Mountaineers 'D' could not get any better in 2008. With the graduation of six starters and the early departure of defensive end Johnny Dingle for the NFL, as well as the coaching staff upheaval that brought coaches Steve Dunlap and David Lockwood back to Morgantown, it seemed that a transition period would be necessary to even approach last year's performance.

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