MORGANTOWN - If there were a quick fix available to cure West Virginia's defensive ills, this would be a good time to find it.
The Mountaineers just aren't going to be able to score 10 touchdowns every week, a fact that has already been proven in games against Maryland and James Madison. So giving up nine, as WVU did in last week's 70-63 win over Baylor, just won't cut it.
There are no quick fixes, though. Instead, as No. 8 West Virginia (4-0) prepares to play No. 11 Texas Saturday in Austin, the Mountaineers just have to make as much progress as possible.
"We always look to make changes if we need to, both from a schematic standpoint and a personnel standpoint,'' WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. "But college football is what it is. We can't call somebody and ask for a trade or pick somebody off of waivers. Those guys are guys that have played around here for a long time and we've got to get them better.
"Or we've got to get young guys, the 10 freshmen on defense, we've got to get them to improve.''
Thus is the tricky part about making changes to a defense that through four games this season has statistical rankings in the NCAA that roughly mirror those of the team's offense - in other words, a reverse image.
Through those four games, West Virginia ranks third from the bottom of the country's 120 FBS schools in pass defense and among the bottom 15 in total defense and pass efficiency defense. The Mountaineers are also 94th in scoring defense and the only yardage or points statistic that looks anything but awful - 38th against the run - comes with the disclaimer that teams haven't had to run the football against WVU.
But simply replacing players in the lineup isn't as easy as it might seem. Replace them with whom?
"We have a limited number of players and a limited number of possibilities,'' defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said. "We have to make the players we have better.''
Most, if not all, the issues with personnel regard the secondary, of course. While there are certainly concerns about getting more pressure on the opposing quarterback or fortifying against the run game, those are mostly scheme and game-planning issues.
But in the secondary, starting cornerbacks Pat Miller and Brodrick Jenkins, along with true freshman safety Karl Joseph, all had big problems with Baylor's passing game, which generated most of the Bears' 700 yards and 63 points.
That might be the thinnest area on the defense, though, especially at corner. Freshman Nana Kyeremeh and sophomore Ishmael Banks are the only players who have really even been tested behind Miller and Jenkins.