By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Time has seemed to go swiftly since linebacker Doug Rigg enrolled as a freshman at West Virginia University.
Now the 6-foot-1, 235-pound junior-to-be from Oradell, N.J., is into his second spring session of practice and about to learn a new defense from mostly new coaches.
Asked what the 70-33 victory over ACC Champion Clemson does fro WVU, Rigg replied:
“I think it sets (higher) standards for us. We had a lot of fun in Miami. We were on national TV, and we felt like kings down there.”
Rigg believes the goal of winning a national championship sets the squad’s work ethic higher than it has been in the past two years.
For his freshman and sophomore season, he has played in 24 games and made 44 tackles — 19 solo — one sack, forced one fumble and recovered a fumble.
His forced fumble came against Clemson on the goal line, and Darwin Cook returned it 99 yards for a touchdown. Rigg’s fumble recovery came in the fourth quarter of last year’s regular-season finale at USF.
He said the new defense the Mountaineers are working on this spring is easier than the last one he had to learn, “but it’s about getting out the stuff we learned in last year’s defense, and transitioning it to this defense.
“One has to make sure he’s doing what is right and not wrong.” Rigg said. “Some of the things we do just have a different name, and others that have the same name are actually totally different.
“So we just have to get the terminology and communication right.”
Meanwhile, coach Dana Holgorsen is pleased with the progress in WVU’s new defense. He said there’s been improvement in the first few days of spring workouts.
“The defense is coming along,” he stated. “They’re getting spoon-fed a little bit, putting in one or two things every day. But I don’t see a lot of blown assignments or a lot of mental busts.
“There are mistakes out there on offense, defense and special teams. But I’ve been pleased with how those guys are coming along (with the new defensive coaches.)”
Holgorsen noted that junior safety Travis Bell came up with two of the three interceptions during last Sunday’s practice in pads.