"But Coach Holgorsen, in terms of watching corners and safeties and seeing what they tip, he has an eye for being able to find what the tip is and then giving that to [quarterback] Geno [Smith]. And then Geno has the latitude to take advantage of it.''
Roberts has his hands full just coaching the basics to his corners this season for several reasons. First, he has only two - starters Pat Miller and Brodrick Jenkins - who have ever really played the position in a college game. The rest of his charges are mainly freshmen and redshirt freshmen, along with a handful of older players whose game experience mainly has been on special teams.
Second, the Mountaineers have spent the spring and summer installing a new defensive scheme, which makes even the veterans rookies, to an extent.
Still, among those basics he's trying to teach are the nuances he learned while spending that year on offense with Holgorsen, watching him break down opposing defenses and the tendencies shown by the defensive backs.
"It taught me, from being in that room, 'OK, let me coach my guys to have as much discipline as possible and disguise what they're doing and make everything look the same and then move to the man,' '' Roberts said.
That's harder than it might sound, though, especially for younger players who are struggling just to learn coverages, much less disguising them.
"There are some coverages where, because of the responsibility, that you have to get there fast,'' Roberts said. "If I'm a half-field corner and I'm replacing the safety, I have to get there fast. But if I'm playing man technique, we also have a cover two where we press. So I can be up on a receiver and it may look like a cover two press, but I may actually have man responsibility.''
It's going to take some time to perfect, but the relative youth with which Roberts is working might actually be a good thing. Freshmen like Nana Kyeremeh and Ricky Rumph - the two newcomers who seem most likely to play right away - haven't developed habits that might tip off offensive coaches.
"It's hard, but I just think it goes back to a comfort level,'' Roberts said. "Once guys know what their responsibility is and where they have to be at the snap of the ball, and once they get the cadence and the timing down, then they can be more comfortable in holding as late as possible and then getting to their spot.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.