Jeff Casteel Analyzing Both Sides of the Ball
In early March, the West Virginia football program welcomed back former Mountaineer defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel. The Paden City, WV native brings 33 years of defensive coaching experience and 27 of those years as a defensive coordinator.
Casteel was a part of the West Virginia football era that arguably had its greatest success. Casteel served as a defensive line coach in his first year in Morgantown and year two as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
He was promoted to defensive coordinator while resuming linebackers coach duties under, then, head coach Rich Rodriquez from 2003-2007. The Mountaineers won two BCS Bowls (Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl) during that span and remained on the staff as defensive coordinator under Bill Stewart (2008-2010) after Rodriquez bolted for Michigan following the 2007 regular season. Following the firing of Stewart in the summer of 2011, Casteel spent one season under Dana Holgorsen and claimed one more BCS Bowl win before he would go (Orange Bowl).
Casteel returned to Rodriquez’s staff in 2012, only this time around at the University of Arizona as defensive coordinator but was ousted by Rodriquez in 2015 before spending the last three seasons as Nevada’s defensive coordinator.
“He’s had a ton of success here,” said West Virginia head coach Neal Brown. “He’s the right kind of guy. He’s about the right things. He’s from West Virginia. He loves WVU and WVU football. He’s been a part of some of the best eras and biggest wins here as a position coach and a defensive coordinator. He’s somebody I’ve always had a lot of respect for as far as a football coach. So, we wanted to add some experience. I think with experience you gain wisdom. He’s, obviously, has a lot of experience – a lot of wisdom especially on the defensive side of the ball.”
“It’s important to note too that he won’t just help us defensively. He’s going to help us from an offensive standpoint as well because he’s going to give us really good insight,” added Brown. “And this is one of the first things he did was really scout us from an offensive standpoint and what did he see? What did he see as things we did well? What are the things as a defensive coordinator he could take advantage of? So, he’s got a multitude of things he can really help our program with. We’re excited that he’s a part of it.”
Including Casteel, there are four analysts in the football program. Tyler Hancock (senior analyst, special teams) Ryan Nehlen (offense) and Casey Vance (defense) and during this downtime, they’re getting ahead on scouting.
“As far as analysts go, what we’ve done is, basically we’ve taken what they would normally have done in the month of May, and into the summer and we’ve attacked that now,” said Brown. “So, that’s some professional development, and at the NFL and at the collegiate level, in all three phases of things that we’re interested in growing from.”
“You do a little bit of that in February but more of that’s done in the months of May, June, and July. So, they’re doing a lot of studies on that. And then, helping with some opponent breakdown as well. What I mean by that is, we always do a summer opponent breakdown, so when we get into fall camp and we say, ‘OK, the opponent of the day is Florida State, then we have a really good feel how they are going to lineup in the year’s past. It’s not guaranteed how they’re going to line up in game one but what they’ve done in the past on offense, defense, and special teams and then we go to Eastern Kentucky and Maryland. We have those based on what they’ve done in the past and we work on preparing for those. We’re doing those now, wherein a normal case, we would do them leading into our staff retreat at the end of July. So, that’s kind of what they’re doing and they’re working with their position coach that they normally would be on some daily tasks.”
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