MORGANTOWN - Forgive Joe DeForest if he's not much into reminiscing or looking back these days, at least not toward recent events.
Put it this way: If the guy drove a pickup truck it would be the model Bob Huggins likes to talk about from his youth, without a rearview mirror.
If he tended to rehash stories like Rich Rodriguez, his favorite no doubt would be The Lion King bit about the monkey hitting the lion. Why? Doesn't matter. It's in the past.
DeForest, though, isn't much into parables, so simple statements will have to do.
"I don't want to talk about last year,'' DeForest said. "Let's talk about next year.''
Well, OK. That's probably for the best anyway, right?
Still, in order to look forward to what DeForest is doing these days on Dana Holgorsen's West Virginia football staff, it is probably instructive to first see just how his job came to be. And that requires, at least in Cliff's Notes form, looking back for just a moment.
In short, he was hired to reconstruct West Virginia's defense in a manner in which it could move from defending Big East teams to stopping Big 12 offenses. That's no easy task, of course, so Holgorsen went and got a guy who had coached defenses (although not as a coordinator) and special teams for the previous decade at Oklahoma State.
It seemed a bit of a gamble turning a first-year coordinator loose in the offensively flammable Big 12, and as it turned out, it was. Without belaboring the point, West Virginia's defense was flat awful and by season's end, DeForest was watching Keith Patterson try to do it better.
Still, DeForest is considered a valuable commodity. He wasn't brought to West Virginia only to coach the defense, but to impart a bit of special teams wisdom. Which brings us to the looking-forward-not-back part of the equation.
It isn't exactly what he came here to do, but now DeForest is Holgorsen's special teams coach and associate head coach. What the second part of that entails is pretty murky, as it is at most places. The first part, though, is pretty clear.
"What I came here to do, what Dana's asked me to do, is help him develop this team,'' DeForest said. "And that's what I see as my role.''