MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Keith Patterson is in his second year as an assistant coach at West Virginia, his first as the team's defensive coordinator.In other words, he hasn't been around the program very long. His short term of service is the obvious indicator of that, but there's another one, too.He's never faced Kevin Rogers. And anyone who has been at WVU for more than a few minutes, it seems, has faced Kevin Rogers.Who is Rogers? Well, this year he begins his first season as the offensive coordinator at William & Mary. The Tribe is West Virginia's opening-game opponent Saturday at Mountaineer Field.
But if there is a coach in the country who has been a more regular foe of the Mountaineers at more schools, let him step forward."No, I don't think I've ever faced him,'' said Patterson, who has only coached at Tulsa, Pitt and WVU since moving from the high school ranks in 2003. "At least I don't think so.''Rogers certainly has faced West Virginia, though. The 61-year-old lifelong assistant was at six schools prior to returning to his alma mater this season and has played or coached against the Mountaineers 16 times at four schools.He was a linebacker on William & Mary teams in 1971 and '72 that lost to WVU the last two times the teams played prior to this season.Rogers was the quarterbacks coach and/or the offensive coordinator at Syracuse, facing WVU every year between 1991 and 1998, coaching both Donovan McNabb and Marvin Graves. He was on the sidelines and involved in the 1992 brawl between the teams.In 2001 and 2002 he coached against West Virginia as the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame.And between 2002 and 2005 he was coaching the quarterbacks, including Marcus Vick, when WVU was still playing Virginia Tech.
So even if Patterson hasn't actually coached against Rogers, he should certainly have a wealth of old game tapes to study in West Virginia's archives. Jimmye Laycock, in his 34th year as the head coach at William & Mary, brought Rogers in to revive what was a dismal offense last season, so the assumption is that Rogers will employ the same type of schemes he's used at all those other stops.Truth be told, however, Patterson isn't poring over old tapes of Rogers' offenses. In fact, while he no doubt concedes that Rogers will improve the Tribe offense, he doesn't see him changing it that much."This is just my opinion, but with Coach Laycock I think they're going to do what they do and what they've done for a long time,'' Patterson said. "They've been very successful and I find it very hard to believe that he's going to just all of a sudden come out and do something completely different from what they've been doing.''So Patterson hasn't spent the past month going back and watching old McNabb highlights from his Syracuse days?
"I'm not saying that I haven't,'' Patterson said with a grin.What Patterson has spent the past month - and longer - doing is rebuilding West Virginia's defense. His main objective, at least from a schematic standpoint, was to create a more multiple defense that can adapt to whatever teams throw at it.If he's been successful, it shouldn't matter how Rogers and the Tribe - or anyone else - decides to attack."When you have a system, it doesn't matter what [the other team throws out there],'' Patterson said. "The way we've built our system, there's nothing that's going to catch us off guard. At least theoretically.''Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.