"If you line up in a stagnant 4-3 or a 3-3 stack or whatever it happens to be and you just sit there, then offenses know what you're in,'' DeForest said. "I'd anticipate a bunch of moving around and people coming from all different directions.''
This much is certain: West Virginia's decade-old 3-3-5 defense is history. It went the way of Jeff Casteel, Bill Kirelawich and David Lockwood when the core of WVU's defensive staff left for Arizona.
What it's to be replaced with isn't quite clear yet. DeForest has no preconceived or closely held notions of what kind of a scheme works best, and he certainly doesn't have much of an idea of the personnel he has on hand. Since being hired last month, he has spent most of his time on the road recruiting and probably wouldn't know Pat Miller from Will Clarke or Doug Rigg if they were standing beside him.
In fact, he probably knows most of the recruits who were signed on Wednesday better than the veterans, which means that spring drills and fall camp will be all about players proving themselves.
"Obviously everybody on the team right now on defense has a clean slate. Everybody gets to start over,'' DeForest said. "And the new guys coming in, obviously it's a benefit to them because they only come in 15 days [of spring practice] behind as opposed to coming in two and three years behind in the scheme. I think as a recruit you're thinking you have a pretty good chance to play early because it's a new scheme for everybody.''
And just what is that scheme? Holgorsen talked Wednesday of a 3-4 and a 4-3 without expressing a preference.
"It's a little bit of both, based on our personnel,'' said DeForest. "We just have to figure out what we have and try to fit those pieces to the puzzle and then recruit to what we eventually want to do, whatever that may be.
"But I think the [difference between] the 3-4 and the 4-3 is so small you won't even be able to tell the difference.''
Indeed, defenses these days are rarely regimented that way. The 3-3-5 WVU has used since 2002 never was. In fact, in its base it was designed to allow safeties to move down as linebackers or linebackers to step in as rush ends.
It's likely, though, that the new base defense will lean more toward a 3-4 than a 4-3, for a couple of reasons - the need to defend passing offenses and a lack of defensive linemen.
"It's a lot harder to find down guys,'' DeForest said. "You can find big safeties that you move down and make into hybrid outside linebackers, big linebackers you can move to rush end, and you have a lot more flexibility there because you have a lot more bodies of those types of kids. And so that's what we'll try to do.
"Speed's the name of the game. Going to the Big 12, it's all spread and it's all throwing. So you've got to have some speed on the field.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1