MORGANTOWN - Following a 2012 season in which football games often turned into track meets, the Mountaineers are working to improve on a defensive scheme that was slightly introduced prior to the bowl game.
"The process is definitely smoother now," defensive back Karl Joseph said. "Going into the Pinstripe Bowl, it was all about trying to get everything in for the game. Now we've had a couple of months just to get everything in. It's just been a smoother process."
Joseph likes the new style of play, and he is hoping his teammates do, too.
"It's a good scheme," he said. "I think Coach (Keith) Patterson has a good plan for us. It's all about buying in. If everybody buys in, I think we're going to be fine."
Defensive lineman Will Clarke said the key will be for him and his friends in the trenches to play in the offensive backfield.
"Our focus has really been just attacking and being dominant," he said.
Patterson is spending the spring trying to find the right combination in a defensive front. The leaders through the spring have been Clarke, Kyle Rose and Shaq Rowell.
"He can throw anybody out there," Rowell said. "I feel with this defensive line, we are a close-knit group. When we come out, we talk about how we are going to dominate. It starts up front. If we don't come out ready to play, nobody else on the defense is going to be ready to dominate."
Rowell said it will be his job to clear the way for the linebackers to deliver the big hits.
"Coach always told us to attack and put the offensive linemen 3 yards in the backfield," Rowell said. "That's why Isaiah Bruce and those guys are making so many tackles. I could care less about a tackle as long as we get a win. As long as I do my job and we get the win, that's what it's all about."