By Dave Morrison
West Virginia’s Najee Goode is certainly the old man of the Mountaineers’ linebacker corps.
And he liked what he saw from redshirt freshman, and fellow Ohio native, Jewone Snow Saturday in the Mountaineers’ 55-10 win over Bowling Green.
Snow, from Canton, finished with nine tackles, making his first career start at mike (middle) linebacker.
Goode, a redshirt senior from Cleveland, had played that spot in WVU’s first four games but moved back outside, to his former sam spot, because Doug Rigg was injured.
So Goode was ready with a quick critique of his understudy.
“He did good, he stepped up,” Goode said. “He played where he was supposed to play. I liked the way he ran downhill. He made some plays I thought might get out (for long gains) That’s the stuff you like to see.”
Goode was in the same position when he came to WVU, and he learned from linebackers like Reed Williams and Marc Magro.
As was the case with Goode, who had five tackles in the win, the lessons learned under fire will become valuable assets as the season unfolds.
“Those guys are going to have to play later on,” Goode said. “Like Jared (Barber), he came in and had a tackle for a loss. For guys like that to come in and get some playing time is important.”
Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel liked what he saw from Snow as well.
“Juwon has worked hard,” Casteel said. “He’s going to be a good football player. He’s young, so it was good to get him an opportunity to play some.”
Casteel said the obvious choice with Rigg’s injury was to move the next best guy up, and that was Snow. Which meant moving Goode back to his old spot.
“It felt a little different, I missed the middle,” Goode said. “Juwon might have had more tackles than me. I told him he has to move out of the way next week. No, it was fine. It just took getting used to it again. Juwon is good enough to play (that spot) and make plays.”
Goode also coached Snow up prior to his first start.
“He helped a lot,” Snow said. “That’s the person I look to if I have any questions at all.”
It also helped the defense to actually force five turnovers (two interceptions by Keith Tandy, one by Terence Garvin and fumble recoveries by Travis Bell and Darwin Cook).
“Turnovers were a big plus,” Goode said. “That’s what (defensive) coordinators like coach Casteel like to see. We still have a lot of things we have to work on and that’s what we’re going to do this week for UConn.”
The Mountaineers host UConn at noon Saturday in the Big East opener.
“That’s all we talk about, really,” Snow said. “We work on turnover stuff, taking balls, in practice. We stress it.”
— E-mail: demorrison@