On Saturday I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and speaking with WVU football Defensive Coordinator, Tony Gibson. He is exactly what I have heard about him from many of his friends, some going back to his childhood.
Coach Gibson is a true West Virginian with a lot of passion for WV and WVU. He is friendly, outgoing, and very personable. I was pleased to read that he received a new contract with a substantial salary increase, as he certainly earned it.
There are a few WVU fans that want Rich Rodriguez back, and others who can’t wait for Coach Joe Deforest to leave. I do not belong to either group.
I have no desire to see Rich Rodriguez coaching at WVU again, and I hope Coach DeForest and the rest of this football coaching staff remain at WVU for years to come.
This is a talented group of coaches, and contrary to the belief of some, DeForest is not responsible for the lack of concentration on the part of punt returners, whether it is catching a punt or getting out of the way of a ball that hits the ground. Players know not to allow the ball to hit them.
It is one thing to teach a player how to catch a punt, and to work on this in practice, and it is a completely different thing to do this in a game when opponents are bearing down on them.
Like you or I speeding down the road in a vehicle – we know better, but we do it anyway. Or maybe it goes back to the cliché: It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. Every player wants to make a big play.
In Coach DeForest’s situation, he isn’t just in charge of special teams, he is also coaching the kickers, punters and safeties. WVU fans have witnessed a much improved kicking game this season, and much better play by the safeties.
There are those who accept Coach DeForest staying at WVU as long as his salary is cut. Am I hearing this right? Coach DeForest is doing the job of 3 coaches and fans want to cut his salary?
My question to these fans is: How many coaches will it take replace him? Will WVU have to hire a safeties coach, a kicking coach and a special teams coach? Or will they have someone else coaching multiple positions?
It would hurt WVU to lose of any of these coaches. The many coaching changes that have occurred since Rich Rod’s departure have done more to slow down the progress of the team than help it.
WVU has a very good coaching staff, and right now the best thing for this team is for the coaching staff to remain stable. The current WVU football coaching staff is a very good one, but they need time to mature together and learn from each other.
The longer these guys coach together, the better they will become and the better team they will put on the field. These coaches have earned this right, this season, and we as fans need to be supportive of this entire coaching staff.
I criticize them when I think they screwed up, but I wouldn’t be a true WVU fan if I didn’t. I do the same with a local high school coach, but I still admire him for his efforts, and appreciate all he has done and does for local football program. And I call him my friend.
I seriously doubt that Coach Gibson will call me a friend, after meeting and talking with him one time, and I will still criticize him for doing something I don’t like. However, as for him and the rest of the WVU coaching staff, I have nothing but admiration and respect.
As fans, we cannot keep trying to throw the baby out with the bath water because of one season, or because there are one or two things we don’t like.
If we continue to do so, WVU has little hope of winning a Big 12 or national title. Our best shot at winning is by keeping this entire group of coaches together for the next 5 to 7 years. Pay them what they are worth by today’s standards.
Again, I truly hope WVU retains this entire coaching staff this season and for seasons to come, It’s good for WV and WVU football.
Good Luck to All the WVU Football Coaches and Staff!!!
Feature photo by WVUSports.com