MORGANTOWN - Steve Dunlap and Shannon Dawson are well aware of what their new official responsibilities on West Virginia's coach staff entail.
Dunlap is the Mountaineers' new special-teams coordinator and Dawson the offensive coordinator. Both admit that those titles don't really mean much of a difference in their responsibilities given that Dunlap has coached just about every special team there is and Dawson will still reside in the somewhat considerable shadow of one Dana Holgorsen.
Then again, seeing those titles written down in black and white and being handed the rather public responsibilities for how those units fare does, in a way, put targets squarely on their respective backsides.
"It means,'' Dunlap said with his usual modicum of happy sarcasm, "that now there's somebody to blame.''
"Oh, I've been blamed before,'' Dawson said. "That's nothing new.''
Holgorsen on Tuesday finally settled on and made public the assignments for his nearly half-new coaching staff. There are, of course, big changes on the defensive side, where only Dunlap remains and not a single position will have the same coach as a year ago.
Shoot, for that matter there aren't many positions that are the same given West Virginia's switch from the 3-3-5 to what Holgorsen called "a 3-4 [scheme] we'll be able to kick down to a 4-3.''
What's a Buck? Or a Star? And where oh where has Mike gone?
(The answer, for the record and according to co-defensive coordinator Joe DeForest, is that the Star and the Buck are the two outside linebackers in the 3-4, with the Buck likely to be the one who kicks down to make it a 4-3. The Mike? Well, there's really no middle linebacker in a 3-4, so they are the Sam and Will. Hey, at least those two guys are still around).
Anyway, the big shake-up goes all the way through the defense, where newbie Erik Slaughter coaches the line, DeForest the safeties (only two now) and co-coordinator Keith Patterson the linebackers, mostly the inside guys. Dunlap, when he's not special-teaming it, gets the outside linebackers.
Oh, and Daron Roberts, as expected, moves over from offense to coach the cornerbacks.
Yes, that makes five defensive assistant coaches as opposed to the four of recent years, which suits Dunlap just fine given that the defensive guys get the brunt of the special-teams work.
"Really, with the exception of some of the returners, aren't they all defensive guys?'' Dunlap said. "Even the front line on kick returns, those aren't offensive linemen up there. They're safeties and guys who can move.''
The most interesting thing, though, is Dunlap's new job as a semi-full-time special-teams coordinator. Has there been a more consistently criticized area of West Virginia's football teams over the past few years than special teams?
Of course not.