The Times West Virginian


March 14, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN- Worley forced to grow up fast for WVU

MORGANTOWN — The roster says Daryl Worley is a sophomore.

Talk to him and you’d swear he was a senior.

A fifth-year senior.

It’s part the way he answers questions. Honestly. Self-assured. And, most importantly, intelligently.

Mostly, though, it’s what he says be it football or life itself.

See, life isn’t always easy, and he knows it.

Ask the West Virginia University football player about his uniform number – 7.

Why 7?

That, you see, was part of his recruitment. To get him to sign, WVU had to promise he’d get No. 7.

The reason it was so important is also part of the reason he has grown up so quickly.

It was the number he and his older cousin, Fabian Johnson, had shared growing up, Worley wearing it on the football field, Johnson on the basketball court, right up until Fabian Johnson couldn’t wear it any more.

One early October day in 2010, they found Fabian Johnson murdered execution style in a park.

“I told him I would wear the number as long as I could,” said Worley.

Sometimes growing up isn’t a whole lot of fun. Worley was a high school sophomore.

Johnson was just 18.

Now Worley is here, the No. 7 on his Mountaineer jersey, his role being to fill in a huge void that existed in the Mountaineer defense last year.

He is playing right cornerback.

Last year, as a freshman, he showed them he could play college football … anywhere.

He was a corner, a safety, even a linebacker.

What he did a senior would have trouble doing. He handled it as a freshman.

“Basically, being so young, I was just trying to play my part … make plays where I could, do what I could, do what the coaches asked me to while staying a part of the scheme,” he explained.

Wasn’t it difficult, though, to learn two, three positions rather than one, and do it so quickly?

“Yes, it was. It was a little tough. You just have to become a football player and not let one technique overcome another technique. Just know what you have to do when you are out on the field in certain positions and in certain situations.”

That is not freshman speak.

He remembered his first time on the field for WVU.

“It’s a crazy experience,” he said. “From the players around you and the fans, there’s so much adrenaline you feel like you have to impress so many people. You are so anxious not to mess up that you have to clear your mind and make plays.”

You think you are going at it at your best, then you view your first game film.

“Some of the movements I was making, I was like, ‘You look stiff; you should be moving quicker than that.’ … It was when I first got out there I was overthinking things, overdoing it, and I wasn’t playing as a football player.”

The defense over the past two seasons has been so vulnerable that they are going back to the 3-3-5 they played during coach Dana Holgorsen’s first season at WVU, the defense that was played at the school under Rich Rodriguez.

And with that, they have given Worley a major assignment. He has one job.

“It’s a big relief, a big weight off my shoulders knowing I’m locked into one position and can just become the best corner I can be,” he said. “I can study one position, study what players are on my side of the field, and I will be able to break things down into a sharper image. My mind will be working faster; I’ll be thinking faster.”

He sees this as an improvement for the whole defense, not flip-flopping from side to side as they did last year.

“I’m glad we’re just playing one side at this point. I felt in the Big 12, the offense is moving so fast that when we’re running across the field they are snapping the ball, so we might get caught out of position. Being on one side of the field makes it easier for us,” he explained.

Worley sees this as a new beginning and, again, as he explains it he does so with maturity, without any personal thoughts, only team.

“I think this year it’s more my standards and what I’m working for,” he said. “We have meetings with our position coaches and strength coaches and we set goals and they set goals for us. Basically, right now I’m fine tuning myself to be the best player I can be.”

And his vision of that is?

“Basically, now I’m at right corner, I’m just working to shut my side of the field down,” he answered.

He understands he can’t just do it with his athleticism, as good as that is.

“Week in and week out, with all the top-notch receivers we see in the Big 12, you have to study each one,” he noted.

It is, quite simply, as big a challenge as he could ask for.

“It’s the hardest position on the field on the defensive side of the ball,” he said. “With so much talent on the other side of the ball, you have to be at your best every week.”

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

Text Only
  • Harrison’s 4 hits leads Pirates past Rockies, 7-5

    Josh Harrison had four hits, including a tiebreaking homer, to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday.

    July 27, 2014

  • MLB inducts newest members into Hall of Fame

    Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy.

    July 27, 2014

  • Post 17 falls short of Area II championship

    Sometimes getting a bad game out of your system is what a team needs.

    July 27, 2014

  • Italy’s Nibali wins Tour de France

    Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour de France on Sunday, becoming the first Italian in 16 years to triumph in cycling’s greatest race by chiseling a lead over his main rivals a few seconds at a time and dominating them in the mountains.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: La Russa gives old pal Leyland a taste of Hall of Fame

    Jim Leyland didn’t expect it, at least not yet, but there he was in Cooperstown, New York for this week’s induction ceremony.

    July 27, 2014

  • JAMES UNDER RAINBOW -TS.jpg Post 17 plays itself into Area II championship game: PHOTOS

    The goal was simple for Post 17 Fairmont: Beat Bridgeport and advance to the state American Legion Tournament. But it left with more than a state tournament berth Saturday night at East Fairmont High School.
    After beating Bridgeport, 11-8, Fairmont secured a spot in next week’s state tournament. But with one challenge down, Fairmont moved on to the next: Playing itself into an area championship game.

    July 27, 2014 14 Photos

  • Knowing facts key to preventing sports injuries

    Youth sports injuries have been on the rise in recent years, leading parents, players and coaches asking one thing: How can we prevent these things from happening?
    A recent poll on the Times West Virginian website revealed that 41.8 percent of readers believe that there is no way to prevent injuries, while 26.47 percent said the best way to prevent injuries was to not play at all and 20.59 percent said that working hard was the best way to limit injuries.

    July 27, 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

  • Pirates fall victim to Rockies, 8-1

    Nolan Arenado bounced back from a benching with three hits, including a home run, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 on Saturday night.
    Tyler Matzek pitched three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings. Drew Stubbs and Corey Dickerson also homered for the Rockies, who have won three straight.

    July 27, 2014

  • Post 17 plays itself into Area II championship game

    The goal was simple for Post 17 Fairmont: beat Bridgeport and advance to the state American Legion Tournament. But it left with more than a state tournament berth Saturday night at East Fairmont High School.

    July 26, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos