The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 13, 2012

WVU shuffles duties on ‘D’

Patterson takes over; DeForest removed of title

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen, finally fed up enough with the play of his defense, appears to be on the verge of announcing more changes on his defensive staff.

The most important in a reshuffling of coaching personnel that comes about in the wake of the dismissal of cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts will be to strip the beleaguered Joe DeForest of his title as defensive coordinator and put Keith Patterson in charge.

Patterson, a former defensive coordinator at Pitt in 2011 under Todd Graham, would drop his co-defensive coordinator title, which would go to DeForest.

The move has been confirmed by sources and been publicly reported, first by the Big Ten Network.

West Virginia’s defensive woes of this season, especially in the passing game, which comes first in the Big 12, have been well documented over a disappointing first season in that league. The Mountaineers were 109th in the nation in total defense out of 120 teams and 119th in pass defense.

The result was despite a season which included the record-shattering trio of quarterback Geno Smith, second-team Associated Press All-America wide receiver Stedman Bailey and first team AP All-America all-purpose player Tavon Smith, WVU had to struggle to finish 7-5.

That earned the Mountaineers a non-prestigious bowl invitation from the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium, where they will face another 7-5 team in Syracuse of the Big East.

The move is hardly unexpected, although it doesn’t go quite as far as many Mountaineer fans had anticipated.

Holgorsen has a decade-long history with DeForest, who came to WVU after serving as special teams coordinator and safeties coach at Oklahoma State. That, perhaps, was why he gave him so much rope during this trying season.

It was obvious by midseason this was not working. In an effort to try to save the year, Holgorsen took DeForest off the field and put him in the press box to call his defenses, moving Patterson down onto the field.

“I just felt like we needed a change. I thought it would help Joe to be in a sterile environment,” Holgorsen said at the time. “There are a lot of bullets flying on the sidelines, and there is a lot of stuff going on.”

DeForest said it worked following the move.

“There’s no emotion involved; there are no distractions. This is the game plan we had, and I wasn’t distracted by the emotion after a good play or a bad play. I could let the situation dictate what we had planned to call,” he said.

“It was just easier. First time in 23 years I was in the box, and I wish I’d done it earlier. It helped me concentrate.”

The defense did improve, but that could because the Mountaineers’ final two games were against low-profile offenses in Iowa State and Kansas, the Jayhawks being a team that did not win a Big 12 game and had only one victory during the year.

Patterson was comfortable as defensive coordinator for Graham in his only year at Pitt before Graham stunned Pitt to jump to Arizona State before the Panthers’ 2011 bowl engagement. In fact, he served as head coach for the Panthers in Graham’s absence for the BBVA Compass Bowl.

He had accepted a job at Arkansas State when he was told he was not a candidate for the Pitt head coach vacancy but came to join Holgorsen before ever coaching there.

Holgorsen has been on the road recruiting all week and is expected to address the coaching changes at a Monday press conference.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy

    The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.

    July 16, 2014

  • WVU player arrested in Delaware case

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

    July 15, 2014

  • WVU hoping to add two non-conference contests

    West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against long-time rival Virginia Tech, now in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.
    An announcement is expected shortly.

    July 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: MLB All-Star game biggest celebration of top athletes

    You will pardon me if I find something else to do when the Pro Bowl rolls around, or if I try to find a “Three Stooges” marathon when it’s time for the NHL All-Star game. As for the NBA All-Star game, I’d rather watch a replay of a four-year-old Uruguay-Ethiopia World Cup soccer match in which I knew the outcome.
     

    July 14, 2014

  • Howes learns to ‘never settle’ as WVU administrator

    You probably don’t know much about Terri Howes, even though she is a rather high-ranking executive in the West Virginia University athletic department.
    “I like it that way,” she said, sitting in a large office at the Coliseum, decorated with pictures and memorabilia, a jar of candy sitting by the door for visitors to dip into.

    July 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads