MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University's newest defensive coordinator said Thursday that he doesn't think the transition to a new style of play will become that much of an issue during spring practice.
Keith Patterson, who serves as a co-coordinator with Joe DeForest, said the experience of the players on that side of the football is helping to ease the transition.
"It hasn't been that big of a transition," he said. "We're moving forward, and I like where we are."
While defensive lineman Will Clarke thinks his role in both last year's 3-3-5 and this year's 4-3 will be similar, he will still be learning a new spot.
"I was more of a field guy," he said. "In this scheme, I'm more of an end and on the strong side of the field."
For sophomore linebacker Doug Rigg, it will be the second straight year he has had to learn a new set of defensive responsibilties.
"It's easier than the last defense I had to learn," he said.
"It's about getting out the stuff we learned in last year's defense and transitioning to this defense.
A lot of times, I'm doing stuff that would be right in other defenses, but it's wrong in this one."
With the new defense also comes new defensive terminology, and Rigg said that, too, can be a bit confusing.
"Some of the things we do just have a different name, and others that have the same name (as the previous defense) are actually totally different. We just have to get the terminology and the communication right."
Patterson said he has seen the players "trying to process everything" during the first three practices, and he said he is pleased with the way they have been picking things up.
"We're going out there cold turkey, and you basically just have to react to it," he said.
"We just need to keep bringing it because we can't let one practice go by without making the most of it.
"The thing you can learn from the first days of practice is effort," he added. "I think we started strong and finished with the intensity that we need to."
DeForest said he thought the first practice in pads was exciting, saying he was impressed with how hard the players went through the drills.
"Their practice tempo is amazing," he said. "We just have to keep piecing different defensive fronts, and whenever we put it all in, we'll see what sticks on the wall and what we want to go with in the season."