MORGANTOWN - The way Brodrick Jenkins sees it, setbacks are a part of life, not to mention football.
To say that he and the rest of West Virginia's cornerbacks suffered through a few setbacks last season would be, well, a colossal understatement.
Torched for more passing yards than any defense in school history, those corners are right in the crosshairs now when looking for solutions to defensive issues that went way beyond just the back end. But sometimes it takes a few failures - or a lot of them, in this case - to finally get on the right track.
"Success isn't a straight line. It's a zig-zag,'' Jenkins said. "We just have to get going back in the right direction.''
In an effort to do so, West Virginia has changed almost everything about how it plays on the back end. The scheme is new with defensive coordinator Keith Patterson tweaking things in some major ways. The coaching is new with Brian Mitchell in charge of the corners.
And, to an extent, the players are new. There exists the possibility that when West Virginia opens the season Aug. 31 against William & Mary, the only player with significant playing experience will be Jenkins, the fifth-year senior whose career has been a bit of a roller coaster - periods when he started games and others when he didn't even play.
There are others who have gotten spot starts in the secondary like Ishmael Banks and Terrell Chestnut. But Chestnut is still recovering from knee surgery and isn't likely to return until midseason, if then. And two of the most promising young corners from last season are now elsewhere - Nana Kyeremeh on the injured list for the season and Ricky Rumph moved to safety.
Which means guys like converted safety Travis Bell, true freshman Daryl Worley, redshirt freshman Brandon Napoleon and back-from-injury sophomore Avery Williams could play big roles this season.
And that's what Mitchell is trying to sort out this month - which ones are capable of doing so.
"I'm projecting right now,'' Mitchell said. "There are some guys that haven't played at this level.''
His for-instance list is headlined by three of those just mentioned.
"Take Daryl Worley. You can see all the physical tools. You can see the mental component where he gets it,'' Mitchell said. "Take Travis Bell, who was a safety. Being back there you have to have a command of the whole defense, so he sees the big picture. And he's a big, physical guy who is maybe suited for some of the matchups in this conference. Take Avery Williams, who has tremendous speed and quickness and he's very sharp in pattern recognition.
"Each one of them brings something new to the table, and I'm just trying to make sure that when we're talking about position mastery, we're not just talking about on the field. We're talking about off the field. We're talking about keeping everything in perfect alignment so we don't have distractions that are going to take away from what we need to get done, football wise.''