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Victor Cabral Already Feels at Home on WVU Staff Despite Learning Curve



WVU Football OLB Coach Victor Cabral
Ed Thompson / WVSN

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Victor Cabral made sense for WVU and WVU made sense for Victor Cabral. That much was clear during West Virginia’s new assistant coach’s first conversation with the media on Friday.

Cabral, who spent the 2023 season at Appalachian State, already feels at home in Morgantown despite being the new guy on the staff. Of course, that’s largely due to his familiarity with most of the WVU coaches.

With the departure of Dontae Wright to Troy, head coach Neal Brown and defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley knew they needed to add another coach to the defensive side of the ball. They eventually landed on someone they knew very well in Cabral. And even though Cabral’s speciality doesn’t fill the exact hole left behind by Wright, they also knew he could help a key position group that lacked depth in 2023

“I’ve known these guys since their days at Troy,” said Cabral about Brown and Lesley. “When I was at Samford, we used to visit with them and worked some camps together. Then we played against them when I was at Georgia Southern. I’ve always respected what Coach Lesley and Coach Brown and their o-line coach, Matt Moore, have done. I respect the world out of them,” he added.

Brown mentioned his respect for Cabral as part of his statement when the hiring was announced. “I have a lot of respect for him having coached and recruited against him. He brings contagious positive energy, is a proven developer of pass rushers and is an effective recruiter.”

But while he knew his coaching peers before arriving in West Virginia, Cabral didn’t yet know about what being a Mountaineer is all about. However, Cabral is now well aware just how passionate WVU fans are and how important the Mountaineers are to the people of the state.

“It’s not a directional school, you know what I mean? It’s one of those deals where there’s an incredible amount of pride that revolves around this area and it really shows with the guys on the team,”  explained Cabral.

“I mean, they take a bunch of pride in it. And I think us as coaches try to get inundated with the culture around here. That’s what I think separates us from a lot of different guys. It’s more than just tradition.”

As for his coaching philosophy, Cabral, who calls himself a “high energy guy,” doesn’t try to be someone he’s not. Cabral is not about tough love, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t expect a lot from his players.

“I’ve been in this business for 17 years, and for me, it’s always about people,” he said.

In addition to their personal relationship with Cabaral, Brown and Lesley also felt the WVU system would be a seamless transition for him. Cabral talked about what coaching under Brown and Lesley’s defensive system has been like and why there’s still going to be a learning curve.

“There is a little bit of a learning curve. I come from a 3-4 system, working in that the last six or seven years, but this has some different nuances. It’s not exactly like I’m learning Chinese, but I am learning a new dialect. There are some new terms and some new things we’re asking our spurs to do that I haven’t done in the past as much, but these guys are helping me,” Cabral detailed.

Cabral, who took over the defensive line at Appalachian State before last season, helped lead a group that contributed to a defense that totaled 16 sacks in 2023. He is leaving one group of Mountaineers for another as he moves up to the major conference level in the Big 12.

A former defensive lineman at Georgia Southern in the early 2000’s, Cabral spent time at GSU before joining Appalachian State.

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