“From a scheme standpoint, I’m happy where [the defense] is at.”
Cook says "a lack of mental effort" is the biggest problem for the defense.
It was only one sentence from Dana Holgorsen’s ten minute segment during the Big12 teleconference, but it caused quite a stir among West Virginia fans. Despite that, the Mountaineer head man reiterated Tuesday that the style of defense was not to blame.
“Schemes are never going to be a problem,” he said. “There are no secrets. You have film and you know what they are doing. You prepare your kids each and every week to prepare against it and stop it, and then you get those guys out there and they have to make plays.”
He was quick to note that the onus doesn’t entirely fall on the players, though.
“As coaches, we have to make adjustments and coach those guys into being able to make the plays,” said Holgorsen.
While the fans have voiced their opposition to that line of thinking, the players agree with what Holgorsen has had to say.
“[The new scheme] doesn’t factor,” said second-year starter Darwin Cook. “You can’t make excuses just because of a new scheme and new coaches. We still have to go out there as players and make plays.”
Junior linebacker Doug Rigg agreed, indicating they were in the right position to make plays, but were out of control.
“We have to be very disciplined,” he said. “We weren’t disciplined at all last weekend. We have to read our keys.”
Part of that discipline comes from working with those around you and Cook says that’s another issue – one he partially takes responsibility for.
“We have to get the calls known around us,” he said. “As a leader, you have to communicate that to everybody. We just have to get better on that part, communication.”
In the end, it all boils down to one thing and it’s not scheme, ability or depth, says Cook.
“It’s a lack of mental effort.”