WVU football rearranges defensive coaches
MORGANTOWN - When Dana Holgorsen put together his new defensive coaching staff last winter, he assigned to Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson the rather unusual titles of defensive coordinator and co-coordinator. Ostensibly it was DeForest's defense, with Patterson giving input.
Apparently when Holgorsen decided to make a change at the end of the regular season, that co-coordinator position was discarded.
Holgorsen indicated Monday that Patterson's elevation to the coordinator position makes him the sole coordinator. DeForest will continue his work as the safeties coach and work with special teams and as the associate head coach, but he won't be the defensive co-coordinator.
"Instead of having two guys share that responsibility, I think it's probably kind of important for one guy to take that lead,'' Holgorsen said.
Patterson will be that one, a decision Holgorsen at last confirmed during his pre-Pinstripe Bowl press conference. He said the change was actually made immediately after WVU's win over Kansas in the regular-season finale Dec. 1.
"When the Kansas game was over, whatever was going to happen there was no sense in wasting time,'' Holgorsen said. "That gives coach Patterson about 21/2 weeks to sit in here and coach and teach.
"He's a great defensive coordinator. He has been for some time.''
Both Holgorsen and Patterson indicated there would be some changes made in the defense before the Mountaineers face Syracuse Dec. 29 at Yankee Stadium. Neither, of course, was willing to talk about specifics.
The change at the top was not the only one made by Holgorsen to his defensive staff. He also fired cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts after a season in which West Virginia's pass defense was ranked No. 119 out of 120 FBS teams. He said graduate assistant Andrew McGee would assume Roberts' responsibilities.
"Andrew's a really, really good, bright young man,'' said Holgorsen, who brought McGee from Oklahoma State, where he was a defensive back and a young coach. "He'll take the lead on that and, obviously, because coach DeForest is in the backfield [coaching the safeties] will spend a lot of time with those guys, too.''
Holgorsen was also asked if he thought the two moves might be the end of any coaching moves or if he had more in mind. He said he did not.
"I feel good about it,'' Holgorsen said.
After practicing only a handful of times since the end of the regular season, the Mountaineers gathered on Monday for a full five days of work. Holgorsen said he would excuse the players after practice Friday to go home for Christmas before convening in New York Christmas night.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.