"When you look at your team and say, 'How would you like the makeup to be,' the first thing you would say is you want a bunch of blue-collar workers that are fearless,'' Mitchell said. "No matter what the situation is, they're going to be diligent in how they prepare each week and for each Saturday. And what they put on tape is what people are going to know them for.''
What West Virginia's cornerbacks were known for last season was not good. The Mountaineers finished among the worst teams in the country in pass defense and five different players started at the two corner spots in an attempt to find success.
Four of those corners are back this season, along with several younger players. Mitchell wants them working not just on their individual abilities, but also in working within a defensive structure that keeps opposing offenses guessing.
He knows it's going to take a lot of work.
"They're young men who need to grow and develop,'' Mitchell said. "We're going to take it step by step. It's a process.''
One of the most amusing drills of practice each day is when quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and Holgorsen put the quarterbacks in the middle of three tall tackling dummies and have them weave in and out while pushing the dummies into each other. The two coaches also take hand-held pads and swing at the quarterbacks, all of it designed to get them used to being in traffic.
Junior quarterback Paul Millard admits that those are about the only hits the quarterbacks take. Defensive players aren't allowed to hit them during practice.
"Yeah, that's probably the hardest hit I'm going to take this spring,'' Millard said. "I wanted to give [Holgorsen] the ball one time and take a whack at him.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.