By Dave Morrison
Register-Herald Sports Writer
With the staff hiring complete, WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen has handed out his coaching assignments for the 2012 season.
He also offered some other tidbits as the Mountaineers get ready for spring practice — which kicks off Sunday — and their first season in the Big 12 this fall.
First things first.
Holgorsen announced Monday that Joe DeForest — formerly at Oklahoma State — and Keith Patterson, formerly of Pitt, will serve as co-defensive coordinators.
With 11 years of experience in the Big 12, DeForest “understands the style of ball we are going to be playing,” Holgorsen said. “I think that is incredibly important. There are a lot of good offenses in the Big 12.”
Holgorsen noted that Oklahoma State “led the nation in turnovers last year.”
DeForest will also work with the safeties, spend time with the specialists (kickers, punters) and his recruiting area will be North Florida.
Patterson, who was Pitt’s interim head coach in the Panthers bowl appearance last year when Todd Graham left, is the co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach. He will recruit Dallas in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas junior colleges.
Erik Slaughter, from Stephen F. Austin, will coach the defensive line and recruit in central Florida.
Daron Roberts, formerly on the offensive side of the ball with the receivers, will coach cornerbacks and recruit in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area.
Steve Dunlap, the last tie on the staff to the Don Nehlen era, has been promoted to assistant head coach/special teams coordinator. He will recruit Western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia.
Shannon Dawson, who coached receivers, is now the offensive coordinator, a job held by Holgorsen last season, and will remain with the receivers. He will recruit the Houston area of Texas.
Robert Gillespie (running backs, South Florida/Miami/Dade County), Bill Bedenbaugh (offensive line, western Ohio) and Jake Spavital (quarterbacks, New Jersey) will remain in their positions.
Ryan Dorchester has been named full-time recruiting coordinator.
Holgorsen also said that Dustin Garrison and Terence Garvin are recovering from knee surgery and will be back at full speed in June and Juwone Snow (shoulder) will be back in July. All three will miss spring practice.
Holgorsen said he realizes the amped up expectations after the Mountaineers blew Clemson out in the Orange Bowl, 70-33.
“I know that it is going to increase the expectations,” Holgorsen said. “I know that is unavoidable. It is not how you start, it is how you finish, which worked out for us last year. If we get a little big-headed because we scored that many points, I just got to remind them that we scored 10 against South Florida the game prior to that so we are far from having things figured out. The 70 point thing was a barrage due to the fact that all three sides of the ball played well. We just caught fire, and it worked out.”
And don’t expect a Geno Smith Heisman campaign.
“We are not going to talk about Heisman potential,” Holgorsen said. “We are not going to do any campaigns or anything like that. It is all about how you do on the football field. Much like the quarterback at Baylor (Robert Griffin III) last year, heading into the year, there wasn’t any Heisman talk or Heisman campaigns, and due to the fact that he played good on the field, that’s what counts.”