The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

August 11, 2013

WVU feels secure at cornerback position

MORGANTOWN — There was a time back during this year’s recruiting period when West Virginia University made the decision it was well stocked enough at cornerback, even with the porous pass defense the Mountaineers presented in the Big 12 last season, that they did not need to recruit any more than one freshman at the position.

True, they would go into the year with unproven players at corner, a rather crucial spot in the Big 12, but the numbers were such and the athletic skills of the young players were such that they felt secure.

How secure?

They were secure enough to move Vernon Davis to receiver, to move Ricky Rumph to safety … positions they took to quite nicely.

“It is two-fold,” new cornerback coach Brian Mitchell said. “One, you want to make sure the team is put in the best situation, and if we need to move a player to help another position out, we will definitely do that.

“Ricky (Rumph) has proven that he has great football IQ. He has done a great job of learning what the safeties have done, and we have asked more of him in another role on third down in our nickel package, being the backup guy there.

“We felt that we have moved a young man that was very savvy and very talented, from a position that we had three guys that were all very similar in ability.”

Everything seemed fine, except for the fact that Terrell Chestnut now is rehabbing his knee and in the past few days talented — and, most importantly, experienced — corner Nana Kyeremeh went down with a shoulder injury that will put him out of action for the entire season.

All of a sudden, Mitchell is down to six cornerbacks.

Enough?

“That is more than enough,” he said. “You would like to have five on the travel squad, possibly six depending on what the special teams’ needs are. You always want two that are developing, but you can only rep so many guys.

“If you are two deep, and you are solid, then that is great. I feel like we have a mixture of good size, speed and quickness. We still need to develop the position mastery of it, but we are progressing.”

The six are last year’s returning starter Broderick Jenkins, sophomore Avery Williams, who played in five games as a freshman but missed last year with a neck injury; redshirt freshman Brandon Napoleon, junior college transfer Ishmael Banks from Hargrave Military Academy and converted safeties Travis Bell, a junior who missed all but three games last year with a shoulder injury, and Daryl Worley, a freshman recruit out of Philadelphia who has caught everyone’s eye.

Worley will definitely challenge for a job despite being a freshman.

“We’re going to play the best football players,” Mitchell said. “Can he be assignment sound? Can he give great effort? Can he finish and make plays? He’s proven he can do all of those things. This kid signifies everything we stand for. If he can start, we’re going to start him.”

But no one has a foot up on a job at present.

“Everyone came in with a blank canvas,” Mitchell said. “We have good size, good speed, good quickness. We still need to develop the position mastery.

“Some of those kids are very similar in abilities and talents,” Mitchell continued. “We said it’s probably going to be done by committee early on. We haven’t designated one or two starters, just to make sure we promote competition.”

And Kyeremeh’s injury only accentuated the competitive situation, for he probably figured to win one of the spots.

“We will narrow the reps down probably after this week or mid-next week,” Mitchell explained. “We narrowed things down with (sophomore cornerback) Nana (Kyeremeh) not being in the mix anymore and Rumph not being in the mix, so we narrowed reps down to just those six guys.

“When you are going through camp, we need healthy bodies. We are not trying to limit the reps of guys that are developing, because we want to have fresh legs every time the guys go out there. If you can continue to develop these guys, yet strain them enough so that they are progressing, why not rep six from the corner position?”

The way Mitchell figures it, you need at least six in the mix.

“You want five on the travel squad, maybe six depending upon special teams needs,” he said.

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

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • WVU #6 SHORTS -TS.jpg WVU opens practice with different feel: VIDEOS AND PHOTOS

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.
    Of course, he would note, “Everybody in the country has a good first day.”
    But somehow, this was different.
    Very different.

    August 1, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia University quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld what should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    August 1, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Bobby Bowden won the bad-and-good battle with rival Lou Holtz

    The recent announcement that West Virginia University is resuming a football relationship with North Carolina State triggered a most memorable bad-news, good-news battle.
    It was between two legendary coaches, WVU’s Bobby Bowden and N.C. State’s Lou Holtz back there in the 1970s.

    August 1, 2014

  • WVU basketball non-conference schedule released

    After playing challenging schedules along with the tough Big 12 road, West Virginia University has backed off some this season on its non-conference schedule that was released Thursday.
    West Virginia is coming off a 17-16 season in which it failed to reach the NCAA Tournament and lost to Georgetown in the first round of the NIT.

    August 1, 2014

  • Mountaineers open practice with different feel

    West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld that should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    July 31, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Bobby Bowden won the bad-and-good battle with rival Lou Holtz

    The recent announcement that West Virginia University is resuming a football relationship with North Carolina State triggered a most memorable bad-news, good-news battle.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU men’s basketball non-conference schedule announced

    West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced the 2014-15 men’s basketball non-conference schedule.

    July 31, 2014

  • 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

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos