West Virginia football: Karl Joseph is having his “best spring”


West Virginia’s secondary will be filled with veteran players this season. One player who will be leading the charge is senior safety Karl Joseph.

Joseph has established himself as one of the best defenders the Mountaineers have had to offer in recent seasons. A hard-hitting, smart secondary player with potential to be in the NFL received glowing remarks from his head coach just days ago at an open spring practice in Morgantown.

“Karl has had his best spring,” said Holgorsen. “Our starters look good. It’s frustrating for me to call plays against those guys (in spring practices), but it’s fun to watch them make plays.”

Joseph already has numerous accolades to his name. Accolades that include being named a captain of the team in 2014 and All-Big 12 First Team Selection by coaches and ESPN.

Sep 6, 2014; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers safety Karl Joseph (8) gestures on the field against the Towson Tigers during the second quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. West Virginia won 54-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Last season Joseph was West Virginia’s second-leading tackler with 92 stops, 62 of them solo, he also had three forced fumbles and an interception.

He made headlines from he moment he put on a Mountaineer jersey, yet this could be Joseph’s best season.

“As far as understanding the defense better where everybody belongs, I think I’ve definitely improved in those areas,” said Joseph. “Everything’s just so much slowed down, I understand things more, especially the defense. I just feel so much more comfortable in it now.”

As a whole Holgorsen believes the defense is ahead of the offense. He says, however, that it’s common to have defense looking better than the offense during spring ball and if the offense was better — “that never turns out well.”

“Our defense should be ahead,” said Holgorsen. “A lot of returning starters, a lot of experience a lot of veterans, upperclassmen.”

The secondary is loaded with familiar faces. Players like Daryl Worley, Jerrod Haper, KJ Dillon, Terell Chestnut and Dravon Henry all have major experience and will enter this season with high expectations.

While the starters will be ready, the issue surrounding the secondary is depth. Worley and Harper ae battling injuries and have been ruled out of spring practices, and young guys who are coming in will be asked to fill the void in the meantime.

“The depth is the biggest issue right now,” said Holgorsen. “We got to develop depth and it’s probably got to come from some of the guys coming in, some of the new guys coming in.”

Last season West Virginia’s defense had a solid year. It appears as each season passes by the defense is constantly seeing improvement. Now under the control of Tony Gibson, the defense will be eager to continue its success in 2015.

While the secondary has veteran guys, there’s still room for improvement. Joseph mentioned that disguising coverage and communication will be key factors coming into the year.

As long as the starters, including Joseph, can remain healthy when the season begins there’s no reason to believe the secondary won’t find success.

“The confidence level is very high right now,” said Joseph. “Considering the experience level we got on defense, every position, the confidence level is very high. It’s just about continuing to improve everyday now.”