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Wanted: Cornerbacks

As the season has progressed, the West Virginia coaching staff has tried a multitude of different “fixes” to resolve the pass defense issues that have plagued the team this season. This past weekend, Terrell Chestnut got the nod at cornerback, marking the fifth different player to do so – something that’s contributed to the problem.

Chestnut made his first start last weekend against Oklahoma.

“We don’t have anyone that has stepped up and taken control of the position,” said head coach Dana Holgorsen on Monday. “None of the guys have stepped up and said ‘this is my position and I am going to make enough plays to where I am not going to be taken out of the game.’”

What has led to that revolving door at corner is a combination of poor play and injury (Brodrick Jenkins and Pat Miller) to the vets, plus a whole lot of youth.

“A lot of them are young and obviously you have guys like Ricky Rumph, who is a true freshman and has no business playing corner in the Big 12 at this point in his career,” said Holgorsen. “(Terrell) Chestnut has played zero snaps at corner the entire year, and we started him. He doesn’t have any business starting in this league at corner at this point in time.”

And this isn’t something that the staff can go out and fix by offering a ton of players, either.

“You can say go out and find corners, but how many corners can we have on scholarship,” said the Mountaineer head man. “There are scholarship limitations, and we have eight corners on scholarship right now, (only) one of which is a senior. It is hard to have any more than eight on scholarship if you just do the math.”

Holgorsen was clear to point out that he thinks the players in the system are capable of getting the job done, that they just need the time to get there.

“It is a matter of coaching these guys up,” he said. “(And) the young guys have to continue to step up and continue to get better. That is an offseason project. You get Avery (Williams) back, who is young; you get Chestnut back, who is young, and Ricky and Nana (Kyeremeh). You have Brandon Napoleon who is a redshirt kid; Vernon Davis who also is a redshirted kid, too.”

“You have six guys that are young, and those freshmen need years to develop before they will be adequate in covering some of these Big 12 receivers. We are not in that situation as a program right now. It is going to take some time.”

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