The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Breaking News

College Sports

December 13, 2011

Nehlen: Hall of Famer Talley blessed with ‘it’

MORGANTOWN — Don Nehlen admittedly had some great linebackers in his 21 years as West Virginia University’s outstanding head football coach.

But he thinks that Darryl Talley clearly was the greatest of the bunch on the basis of playing ability.

“First of all, Darryl had ‘it’,” Nehlen said last week after returning from New York and seeing Talley inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. “Exactly what ‘it’ is, I’m not quite sure.

“When you coach, every now and then you get a kid with ‘it.’ He could just play great and Darryl Talley was just an outstanding outside linebacker.”

The East Cleveland, Ohio, native actually was recruited by Frank Cignetti in 1979. He played for Nehlen in 1980-81-82.

Nehlen, who’s also in the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach, recalled, “When we got Darryl, he was skinny and a little bit undisciplined, but he’d been in the program heavily and we put about 35 pounds on him in about a year and a half.

“The big thing, he could run and he had great striking ability and we could play him at a lot of different places.”

Talley, who now resides in Orlando, Fla., made consensus All-America status as a senior in 1982. Talley had a school record 484 tackles for his collegiate career. Grant Wiley topped the mark with 492 tackles from 2000-03.

Talley also ranks sixth all-time in career quarterback sacks with 19.

“For his first position, we moved him out to a corner and took the other corner and shifted him to safety,” Nehlen remembers. “And we shifted the backs all the way around.”

Nehlen noted that Talley was about 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds in his prime. He had excellent speed, was smart and he loved to tackle.

“When he tackled you, you really were tackled and you knew it,” Nehlen stressed.

“I think that was true (about his tackling ability) in the NFL, too. He set the career record for tackles with the Buffalo Bills.”

The retired coach, WVU’s winningest ever in football, said Talley was a pleasure to coach and a really, really solid performer.

“He’s just a fine young man,” Nehlen said. “And he looks like he could still play football.”

Nehlen believes that Talley’s greatest game was against Pitt on the road in 1982. The Panthers were ranked No. 4 nationally and Talley was a wild man against the Panthers. He intercepted a Dan Marino pass and also blocked a punt for a touchdown. Paul Woodside tried to tie the score with a game-ending field goal.

But the ball hit the upright and fell down. Pitt finally won the game 16-13.

Nehlen said Talley also was highly instrumental that year in the 19-18 victory over Maryland in Morgantown.

“We knew they would go for a two-point conversion, and Talley hit the tight end so hard he knocked the ball loose,” Nehlen remembers.

Text Only
College Sports
  • Hamrick deserves praise for pursuit of D’Antoni

    Sometimes gambles don’t pay off, but some risks simply have to be taken.

    April 23, 2014

  • WVU post-spring depth chart filled with few surprises

    Although the contents brought about as much of a surprise as a over the hill balloon at a 40th birthday party, there were a few interesting nuggets in the post-spring depth chart that West Virginia University sent out Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Clutch hitting leads WVU over Marshall

    Junior catcher Cam O’Brien finished  a home run away from the cycle and scored three runs as the WVU baseball team defeated Marshall, 10-3, on Wednesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gardner improving with broken neck

    Joedy Gardner, a well-known former West Virginia basketball player and coach, is much improved after having broken his neck in Phoenix, Ariz., several months ago.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like and stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014

  • Paul Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Hiring an interim while waiting on D’Antoni would be an injustice

    The search for Marshall’s new men’s basketball coach remained in a holding pattern over the Easter weekend while the Los Angeles Lakers put off their decision on coach Mike D’Antoni’s future until this week.

    April 21, 2014

AP Video