December 29, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen looks on during the fourth quarter of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against the Syracuse Orange at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

WVU Football Hires Brian Mitchell

Coach Dana Holgorsen announced the addition of secondary coach Brian Mitchell today.

Mitchell comes to West Virginia after spending three seasons serving as the East Carolina defensive coordinator. Under Mitchell, ECU’s defense ranked 87th in total defense and an 8-5 record overall.

With a head coaching change, Mitchell became expendable, especially with the struggles on his side of the ball. Mitchell was brought in because of his success as a secondary coach under Mike Leach at Texas Tech where his secondary was consistently one of the best units in the Big XII.

Mitchell did not find the same success at East Carolina though. This past season, ECU was 107th against the pass, allowing 275.7 yards per game through the air. That is barely an improvement on West Virginia’s atrocious secondary that was 118th against the pass, surrendering 312.5 yards per game.

Obviously coach Holgorsen sees promise in Mitchell and has faith in his abilities to resurrect the Mountaineers secondary. Holgorsen has made a habit of hiring coaches that he has a history with, and the results are mixed to say the least.

Offensively, Holgorsen’s coaching staff has excelled; defensively and on special teams, WVU had really under-performed. The tweaks that Holgorsen is making on the defensive side of the football will be instrumental in the success of West Virginia’s defense next season.

Given the massive turnover on offense and the youthful experience of the Mountaineers defense, the Mountaineers will need a much improved defense to carry them to a bowl game in 2013.

For more on the hire, see the full article at

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