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Could the WVU Defensive Line Actually be Deeper in 2023?



WVU Football DL Davoan Hawkins and Coach Andrew Jackson

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Mountaineers know they can’t replace a player like Dante Stills, but there’s also a belief the WVU defensive line might actually be deeper than it was last season.

Defensive line coach Andrew Jackson went over why he’s confident his current group of players can collectively be even better in 2023. In his first media session since the spring, Jackson was asked how he feels the defensive lineman have been looking during practice and the team’s recent scrimmage.

“We’ve looked really good. Really consistent. Multiple body types so it’s been nice. This group is different. Their mentality is fixed on working and trying to be physical,” said Jackson.

For a standout player, Jackson mentioned sophomore Eddie Vesterinen as one of his most consistent players. “He’s a technician. He takes coaching so well. He’s got the most relentless motor of anyone I’ve coached,” Jackson said about the Finland native who is entering his second season as a Mountaineer feeling much more comfortable with everything from the WVU defense, to the game football, to living in West Virginia, to adapting the American culture in general.

But it’s not just about production and players stepping up for Jackson, he’s also pleased that Sean Martin is doing his best to be the new leader of the defensive line. Head coach Neal Brown actually picked Martin out at the start of spring ball as someone who could help fill Stills’ role as the guy the younger payers looked at for guidance.

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

A unique as aspect of this year’s team is one line is a question mark and full of inexperience while the other is arguably one of the best in the country at what they do. Jackson is taking advantage of being able to test his players against WVU’s elite offensive line. Being able to watch players try to handle Zach Frazier, Doug Nester and company will only make his group better and more ready for high pressure situations, according to Jackson.

“We don’t have the Dante Stills eraser, but we have a group of guys who can run around and do the right thing,” perfectly sums up what Jackson now thinks of West Virginia’s defensive line.

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