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Aubrey Burks Admits WVU’s Secondary Didn’t Fully Commit in 2022



WVU Football safety Aubrey Burks

MORGANTOWN, W.Va – Admitting the problem might be the first step for Aubrey Burks and the WVU defense to fix their issues.

Coming off a roller coaster ride of a season for West Virginia, Burks acknowledged what he believes was the main problem that caused the defense, in particular the secondary, to struggle and be inconsistent throughout the 2022 season. According to Burks, who is entering his third year as a Mountaineer, WVU’s secondary lacked focus and communication.

“Chemistry wasn’t really there. I can say, as a secondary, we didn’t fully commit ourselves to try to be one of the best secondaries,” Burks said speaking candidly about what went wrong. He elaborated even more about feeling as if the group lacked vocal leadership.

“We did have some vocal guys but that was up front. In the back end, there wasn’t really a veteran guy. Charles [Woods] was a veteran guy, but when he got hurt, that kind of killed us not having a veteran,” Burks said. “Us being young and not having a lot of chemistry together kind of hurt a lot,” said Burks.

While it may be surprising to hear a player be so honest about not being all in, Burks seems to be addressing the past as his way of assuring himself as the leader of the 2023 secondary. Head coach Neal Brown mentioned defensive lineman Sean Martin as who he sees as the new leader of the defense with the program no longer being able to rely on Dante Stills, but as Burks brought up, the back end of the defense needs its own main guy to be fully clicking on all cylinders.

Neal Brown Points to Sean Martin as Candidate to Fill Leadership Void for Defense

When trying to get better, it’s essential to not just offer what wasn’t good enough, but to also provide solutions. Burks did just that as well. “We’re trying to get better at investing and watching film together and doing everything we can to be on the same page,” he said as far as what the plan has been to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself for the WVU defense.

“From last year to this year, we want to create more turnovers during spring. That’s what we’ve been emphasizing — getting the ball on the ground, catching interceptions and playing relentless and fast,” said Burks as what will lead to having a more aggressive and effective unit.

But besides being the to open up about the reality of 2022, why is Burks the right guy to fill the role of the secondary’s vocal leader? “I’m not saying I know a lot, but if I’d have known then what I know now, I learned a lot of things from last year,” Burks said. “I feel like from the start of the season I would’ve been playing really well and it would’ve gone to playing super great toward the end of the season. I’m not mad about the way I played last year, but I definitely left some plays out there. I could’ve done better at the beginning of the season, but I finished pretty good.”

Hearing a player admit to a lack of focus during a disappointing season will undoubtedly anger most fans, but recognizing the problem could actually be a sign that Burks has the right maturity to the WVU defense desperately needs for a “make or break” season.

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