The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

March 12, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN- Patterson is in the hot seat

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen had just finished his address to the media during the school’s annual pre-spring practice luncheon and was turning the focus over to his assistant coaches, who were finding seats at tables around the room.

Gary Patterson grabbed his and as he sat down you expected him to jump back up in pain, for if anyone has followed WVU football he would know that Patterson is on the hot seat.

Badda-boom!

This is the year Patterson assumes the title of defensive coordinator of the Mountaineers, which fielded among the five worst defenses in college football last year and by far the worst ever in WVU’s long football history.

A year ago Patterson carried the title of co-defensive coordinator and linebacker coach, while Joe DeForest was in title the defensive coordinator.

Now, anyone knows that if you have co-coordinators you have no coordinator, and that was pretty much how it appeared. The “co-” title for Patterson was probably put there in order to be able to give him a few more bucks in his paycheck.

Ask him about being a co-coordinator last year and exactly what that meant, he simply answers:

“I just tried to make the linebackers the best I could and help the best I could from a coaching and schematic standpoint.”

This year?

“I know where I am right now and I’m heading forward.”

In truth, that is the only way this defense can go ... and it damn well better because you cannot expect an offense that lost quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey to match last season’s record-shattering production.

When last seen, the defense was being shredded on the ground by a rather ordinary Syracuse team in the Pinstripe Bowl, one final indignation and one that came in Patterson’s first game as defensive coordinator, although it was hardly what you would call anything but a walk-through.

Certainly, it meant nothing to Patterson.

“I have not thought about it since the last second clicked off the clock,” Patterson said.

He didn’t even go back and analyze film of it.

Why?

Because it was last year and that doesn’t count any longer.

“It doesn’t matter what Isaiah Bruce did a year ago. It doesn’t really matter what Karl Joseph did a year ago. That’s not going to do a single thing to help us win our first game this next season,” he said.

Patterson sees this as starting over completely.

“Basically it’s like building a home. First you have to build a foundation. You have to identify who you are, identify your philosophies and expectations,” he said.

And he knows what that is and has spent the offseason getting it across to his defense.

“Be on time. Don’t be late for class. We worked on discipline,” he said. “We talk to our players all the time about how the way you do anything is the way you do everything.

“We want to be the least penalized defense in the country. We went down to the very first element of football, looking at ourselves.”

And once you know who you are?

“Then you get into defining what you are. What are we? We are an attacking 3-4 defense with simplistic teaching. We are going to be multiple but simple,” Patterson continued. “We want to create confusion in the mind of the quarterback, not just by impacting the quarterback physically but before the ball is even snapped. We want to put in his mind thoughts like, ‘What am I seeing? Am I really seeing what I think I’m seeing?’”

Patterson sees the defense as an extension of Holgorsen’s offense.

“Our defense has to complement our offense. We’re an uptempo offense. To complement that offense, our objective is to get the ball back to the offense as fast as possible with good field position. That allows them to get into a rhythm running offensive plays.”

The approach?

“We define who we are, then we define how we will stop the run, how we will control the pass. Then we lay out the keys to what a championship defense is built around,” he explained. “We spent an inordinate amount of time explaining and ingraining the minds of these young men what it takes to be successful on defense.

“We focused on ourselves, on philosophy and expectations, who we are and where we’re headed and what our goals are for the spring. We will harp on that over the next five weeks, and then see where we are at the end of spring ball.”

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

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads