By George O’Bryan
In 2014, we heard fans yelling for Coach Joe DeForest’s head, and I have never really understood this. He was the one who turned the play of the safeties around. It has also been DeForest that improved the kicking game.
It appears to me that Coach DeForest is one of WVU’s best coaching commodities. It was made apparent in 2014 that WVU finally has a defensive coaching staff that knows what they’re doing and can readily coach together.
WVU fans saw improved special teams play in 2014. There were some mental errors, especially by the punt returners that caused fans to rip into DeForest and call for him to be fired.
They either don’t remember or prefer not to that even before Holgorsen arrived, WVU special teams play was poor. It is much improved over what it was even under Coach Rich Rodriguez.
No single coach is responsible for every player on special teams. We are not talking about a unit with 11 players that simply have to be taught techniques in a couple of areas.
There is a kickoff team, a kickoff receiving team, a punting team, a punt receiving team, an extra point team, and a field goal team. Do you truly hold one coach responsible for all of those teams?
The primary problem on special teams was the inability to successfully and correctly return or fair catch a punt. Did you notice the WVU return man was usually surrounded by several of the opponenent’s players no more than inches away when the punt reached him? No wonder he had problems.
Who was coaching the players that were supposed to block for the return man? It may have been DeForest, but it was likely someone else assisting with the punt return team. Do you blame the offensive coordinator when the offensive linemen are unable to run block?