MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - After a couple weeks of spring drills, Ron Crook is beginning to get comfortable in his new surroundings.
West Virginia's third offensive line coach in the last four years was only on the job a few weeks before jumping into practice, so he had a lot of work to do familiarizing himself not only with the staff and the coaching philosophies, but also the players he's coaching.
Of course, getting comfortable being in West Virginia was no big deal. He grew up in Parkersburg, played in college at West Liberty and coached in the West Virginia Conference.
Being able to come home played a big part in Crook's decision to take the job after two years at Stanford, but more than that was the chance to be a part of the WVU program.
"I think [coming home] played a big part in it, but more from a standpoint of growing up in this state you know how important Mountaineer football is to the people of this state,'' said Crook, who spent the eight years before his time with Stanford at Harvard. "I've been gone several years now, so it wasn't really so much coming home, it was more about coming to a place that I know football is important to the people of this state, the people in this university. That was a big thing that I wanted to be a part of.''
Crook never was able to be a part of the WVU program before now, but he still always felt it was a part of him.
"I think as a kid growing up in this state, everything you do revolves around Mountaineer football. At least it was that way for me,'' Crook said. "And it wasn't just football. In my home growing up, if there was a West Virginia event on TV, it was on our TV.
"I think you're always following it. When you're brought up that way, you don't lose it. I've always been a West Virginia fan.''
The first thing that comes to mind when most people think about cornerbacks is skill and athleticism.
But what WVU cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell wants to see is a workaholic mindset.