Jared Bartlett is Comfortable in This Year’s Defense
While Jordan Lesley isn’t bringing a new defense since its his third year on the job, the amount of new players across WVU’s defense essentially makes it a new one.
For Jared Bartlett though, he’s extremely comfortable in this defense and said as much during his press conference on Wednesday.
“This will be my fourth year on this defense,” said Bartlett. “My experience has really set in. I’m learning what moves to do with certain sets. How to really put forth my talent towards the scheme and maneuver that to make myself more productive.”
Bartlett has statistically improved each season he’s been with WVU. He almost doubled his tackle total from 2020 (19) to last season (31) and increased his tackle for loss total from 5.5 in 2020 to six last year, granted he played in three more games last season.
A true bandit, Bartlett plays the unique position for WVU and helps out on all facets of the defense. In addition to his tackle numbers he has seven career sacks split evenly over the last two years, though his pass rush ability was is something he said came naturally to him.
He’s also forced a fumble in each of the last two years and had a pass deflection in 2020. He added a fumble recovery last year as well.
“Someone who can rush and effect the quarterback,” said Bartlett when asked to describe the perfect bandit. “Someone who can drop back and effect the pass game. Someone who can effect the run. Someone who can set the edge or fit inside and effect rush gaps…
”It’s like the mixture of a d-end, an inside line backer and a nickel.”
He’s only made five career starts across 22 games, though he’s expected to be key in the bandit role this year though, with Phil Steele naming him to his preseason All-Big 12 fourth team.
He is still one of the more experienced players on a defense that will feature several transfers in new roles, granted transfers that bring in their own experience. Bartlett’s experience with WVU though has led to his comfortability with the team.
“I would say their different,” said Bartlett when asked to compare past defenses. “Specifically because we’ve been together for awhile. The chemistry is a little better. We move around a little faster, linebacker and secondary. D-line experienced, older guys. So I feel like we’re all starting to fit the scheme.”
Bartlett and the rest of the WVU football team will start their season in less than a month against Pitt in the renewal of the Backyard Brawl on September 1 at 7:00 p.m. in Pittsburgh at Acrisure Stadium.