Fixing that is the responsibility of Patterson and his rebuilt staff. They can't be certain that everyone will handle his responsibilities on every play - no coach can - but after last year's debacle perhaps the first priority is to make sure they find 11 guys committed to doing that.
It's a philosophy that has been driven into Clarke and the rest of the defenders from the end of last season - don't worry about the big picture, worry about your job and everything else will take care of itself.
"Most of the defensive problems last year we brought on ourselves," Clarke said. "We beat ourselves more than teams beat us. That's nothing against the teams that did well against us, but I believe with better preparation and more urgency to get to the ball and more urgency to get the calls - know your assignments and things like that - I believe that can definitely help us a lot."
The scheme, though, still has to be considered in West Virginia's failures a year ago.
"Coach Patterson has incorporated a lot more of an attacking style," Clarke said. "We should be attacking more out of our 3-4 defense instead of the rush-three, drop-eight zone that we were playing. He's trying to bring more pressure from the front seven, whether it's four guys, five guys, no matter how many guys we're bringing. Just try and bring more pressure on the quarterback and make the pocket close more.
"The good thing about it is as a defensive player it gives you a lot of opportunities to attempt to make plays. I feel like that should be the main goal of every defensive player. The Big 12 is such an offensive-oriented conference, especially with passing plays, so it gives us a chance to get a lot of sacks and interceptions."
There doesn't seem to be much faith that the Mountaineers can turn things around on defense. In the Big 12's annual media poll, West Virginia was picked eighth out of 10 teams. Given Holgorsen's reputation for building offenses, that has to mean only one thing - that the defense just has too many question marks.
Fine, Clarke says. Think that way.
"We're picked to finish eighth and that's helping us out because we're the only guys that think we're going to be good,'' he said. "We actually believe we're going to be good.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.