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
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • 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

House Ads
Featured Ads