The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

April 8, 2014

Dillon making impact on West Virginia defense this spring

BECKLEY — K.J. Dillon has been a contributor on the West Virginia defense. He provided depth at the safety spot as a freshman in 2013, recording 20 tackles and forcing a fumble, and as a sophomore he made four starts, battling injuries throughout the season on his way to 28 tackles and six pass breakups.

As his junior season approaches, though, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound Apopka, Fla., native is looking to take the next step and become a leader on a Mountaineer defense desperately searching for an identity.

“It’s been a great offseason for me,” said Dillon after Saturday’s practice in Charleston. “I’ve bounced back and have been getting better every day. I’ve been getting my body and mind together.”

According to head coach Dana Holgorsen, the work is making an impact. When asked to identify a couple of top performers from the spring, the fourth-year head coach quickly landed on Dillon’s name.

“He has been very disruptive on defense and more disciplined,” said Holgorsen. “He’s always been disruptive on defense, but sometimes it was more disruptive for himself or me than he was opposing offenses.

“Now he is more disciplined. He’s lining up better, and he’s staying on his feet and making more plays.”

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Another potential area of strength for the 2014 WVU football team is the interior offensive line, where Mark Glowinski and Quinton Spain return with plenty of experience.

“We gel pretty well together,” said Glowinski. “We communicate with everyone on what needs to be done. We are constantly pushing to make each other better and improve. If we do something wrong, then we correct one another. We joke around but are always making sure we go hard on every down.”

“This season, they can potentially be dominating guards,” said Holgorsen, who said the only concern at that position is finding quality backups. “There’s a significant difference between them and the guys behind them, so they just need to fight off complacency.”

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WVU will play its annual Gold-Blue Spring Game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. The gates will open at noon, and tickets are available for $10 each only at www.wvugame.com. Proceeds will benefit the WVU Children’s Hospital.

The WVU defense will make up the blue team, with the gold team consisting of the Mountaineer offense.

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WVU women’s basketball coach Mike Carey received the second-most votes for the Associated Press Women’s Coach of the Year, trailing only award winner Muffet McGraw of Notre Dame.

WVU won a share of the Big 12 regular season title and made an appearance in the Big 12 championship game. They won 30 games, the most in program history, and made their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

“I was really proud of the way the team pulled together and the season that we had,” said Carey. “It always feels good to know that your hard work is recognized, but at the end of the day, it is our players who deserve the credit.”

Carey is 274-146 as the WVU head coach.

— E-mail: chuffman@

register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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