The Mountaineers were down 2 starting defenders going into Kansas to play the Jayhawks: LBs David Long and Toyous Avery. As the game went along 4 more WVU defenders would go down: CB Mike Daniels, LB Brendan Ferns, and safeties Marvin Gross and Kyzir White. Of these 4 Brendan Ferns shoulder injury appears to be the most serious, and it could cost him the rest of the season.
The good news from Saturday is that even with 6 starters out on defense, WVU held on for the win. Which means 4 young players got lots of quality playing time against a Big 12 opponent.
With the Mountaineers heading into a bye-week before traveling to Texas to play TCU should allow some of the starters to return to the line-up, especially Toyous Avery and David Long.
Being without 6 starters might have had a lot to do with the sloppy play of WVU’s defense against Kansas. This is negative is also also a positive. The newly gained experience of the replacements should go a long way to helping them prepare for the upcoming games. Their mistakes will become coaching points.
Of the 8 injured defenders, all but Ferns will most likely return for the TCU game. And while this defense may be down, it definitely isn’t out. This defense showed a lot of grit and character Saturday. Their play may not have always been the best, but it got it got rough and it appeared the game was slipping away, this defense found a way to come together and win.
We cannot get down on this defense, for now they have game film that can be used to help make each replacement better, especially those with game experience. This game was and is a learning experience, and should go a long way in helping create defensive depth.