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WVU Defense at Top of Big 12 in Important Category After Struggling in 2022



WVU Defense tackling against Texas Tech

The WVU defense has been the driving force of West Virginia’s ability to win early in the season. Without the defense playing as well as it has, the Mountaineers would likely be in a world of trouble.

How are they doing it? The answer can be as simple as being fundamentally sound, something defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley stressed throughout the spring and summer after his group endured a tough season in 2022.

Part of a defense reaching its potential and being fundamentally sound is tackling. A defense can’t always stop a player from getting the ball, but it can reduce how much damage that player can do.

But a big problem for the WVU defense last season was missed tackles, and it appears as if that has been corrected in 2023. And it’s not just that the missed tackling problem has been remedied, but it’s improved so much that the Mountaineers are sitting at top of the conference in this category.

PFF calculated the amount of missed tackles for each Big 12 team through the first four games of the season. To this point, WVU with 31 is only behind Cincinnati’s 24 in terms of missing the fewest number of tackles. Conversely, Oklahoma State has missed the most tackles with 56.

The offense is tasked with trying to find more success and be more explosive. But the season isn’t going to just wait for that to happen either. So until that occurs, it’s up to the defense to carry the Mountaineers through an extremely important stretch of the season.

For a related story, WVU linebacker Lee Kpogba is helping to lead the defense by example with his physical play.

Lee Kpogba Embodies ‘Effort, Aggression, Together’ Motto of WVU Defense

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