By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Josh Francis is battling Jewone Snow for one of the starting linebacker positions on West Virginia’s football team this spring.
A junior college transfer, the 6-foot-1, 221-pound senior from Damascus, Md., saw action in only eight of the 13 games last season after arriving at WVU.
Snow is a 6-foot-1, 240-pound sophomore from Canton, Ohio.
In WVU’s new defensive system, Francis said, “You have to run and go out and cover an opposing receiver, and I think I can do that pretty well. I’m excited for the transition into the 2012 season.”
He believes it’s a lot easier for him now than it was last year. He calls the new scheme “more of a freestyle type of play.”
Francis said in the upcoming season he will have the responsibility to cover the quarterback. As a result, he’s playing fast and giving more effort.
“If you’re playing with greater effort, they are going to show you some new techniques,” he continued. “I always give great effort, so new techniques are the next thing that falls in line.”
Francis received All-America acclaim at Lackawanna College. He had played football at Damascus (Md.) High School.
For two years in junior college, he had 95 tackles and 19 for lost yardage.
He thinks West Virginia’s defensive unit could be even better this year because everyone is on the same page. He feels there is unity not only on the first defensive team but also among the second-teamers as well.
Francis cited “a lot of confusion” for his loss of considerable playing time as a member in 2011. To him, it was stressful.
He hastened to add, “But everything happens for a reason, and I believe that I stuck through it last year. I would love some more opportunities to learn.”
He saw some action on special teams in 2011 as well as the eight appearances as a linebacker.
Francis wears No. 17 on his jersey.