West Virginia football: Defense? Mountaineers have 'tried everything'

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Dana Holgorsen doesn't have any answers for the Mountaineers' awful defense, and WVU's upcoming Big 12 schedule won't do its defense any favors, either.

You know the story with WVU so far this year. The offense is incredible, glorious, prolific -- or at least it was until it was stymied in consecutive losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State. The defense, on the other hand, is pretty much the worst unit ever, looking way out of its depth and failing to make even the most basic reads to stop opposing offenses.

The Mountaineers have the week off to regroup before facing TCU next week, and it sounds like they're at least trying to address their defensive problems. Unfortunately for WVU fans, though, Dana Holgorsen and his coaching staff don't seem to have many answers.

"What do you want me to change?" coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We played somewhere in the neighborhood of probably 30 players on defense (against Kansas State). They are what we got" ...

"We’ve tried everything," [defensive coordinator Joe] DeForest said. "Maybe that’s our fault as a staff. We’ve tried to cover up our deficiencies. Then we tried to do other things to give them the ability to mix it up. We’re searching right now."

With more Big 12 football on the horizon, it doesn't look like the Mountaineers know how to address their problems -- there just isn't enough experience, and isn't enough talent. Their 70-63 win over Baylor in their inaugural Big 12 game won them plenty of attention, but it's turned out that the 63 points they gave up were much more meaningful than the 70 they've scored. The Mountaineers currently average a hair under 40 points per game, and in four Big 12 games, they've averaged 53.

Next week, they'll face a freshman quarterback in Trevone Boykin, but this is a player who went toe-to-toe with Texas Tech's Seth Doege last week, and who helped the Horned Frogs pile up 49 points against Baylor the week before.

After that, WVU will face an Oklahoma State team that's fourth among FBS schools with 45.7 points per game. (A lot of that is due to an 84-0 win against Savannah State early in the season, but still.) Then they'll host Oklahoma, which ranks fifth, has 41 or more points in its last three games, and put up 63 points against Texas two weeks ago.

In other words, if the upcoming schedule is any easier, it isn't by much. The Mountaineers will ultimately have to resign themselves to playing shootouts and hoping to come out on top, and even that won't save them if their offense can't prop up the rest of the team. Or they'll have to figure out how to fix their defense, but Holgorsen and DeForest's words don't demonstrate much confidence that can happen.

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