West Virginia defensive line "the most physical group I've had" according to defensive line coach

WVU defensive lineman Edward Vesterinen against Oklahoma State last year.
WVU defensive lineman Edward Vesterinen against Oklahoma State last year. / Brian Bahr/GettyImages

Just about anyone who has played football can tell you the difference it makes being able to practice against the best.

That’s why, according to West Virginia defensive line coach Andrew Jackson, his position group knew they had to be ready when facing off against former WVU All-American center Zach Frazier

“You better have your stuff ready, or that guy’s going to put you in the dirt,” Jackson said on Monday about Frazier.

But for Jackson, that was a positive attribute of having Frazier on the team. As he has watched his players' development during spring practice, he sees something new in the Mountaineers’ defensive line.

“We’re physical,” Jackson said.  “I’ve had very talented groups here, this is the most physical group I’ve had.”

And Jackson believes that a big reason for that physicality is that his players are used to lining up against quality competition in practice, such as Frazier, former tackle Doug Nester, and current offensive line leader Wyatt Milum.

“Going against Zach Frazier all those years, some of those guys that have been in the room -- Doug Netser, Wyatt Milum. And just those guys spurring competition,” Jackson listed as a reason for the development.

Jackson said he also feels as if the current group has fully taken to heart that they need to be a bit more aggressive to finally see the success they’ve envisioned for themselves..

“Just pointing out some examples of good defensive line play and how physicality can overcome a lot of things on tape, those guys have really truly embraced it,” Jackson said. “We’ve done a great job building it as an example, on defense in general, just not appearing to be soft -- being able to put your hands on people and your shoulder pads on them too.”