May 27, 2024

Notebook: Gallagher Explores Defensive Back Role, Special Teams Improvements Highlighted

West Virginia football’s spring sessions have seen sophomore Rodney Gallagher III, a notable recruit from the 2023 class, delving into the cornerback position alongside his primary role as a wide receiver. Head coach Neal Brown sees potential in Gallagher’s physical attributes for playing on defense, citing his background in basketball, where he excelled in man-to-man coverage and showcased agility and defensive instincts.

While Gallagher’s focus remains on offense, his willingness to explore cornerback duties adds versatility to his skill set. As a freshman in 2023, he showed promise with contributions on offense, and Brown anticipates his offensive impact to grow in the upcoming season.

West Virginia Experimenting With Gallagher As A Two-way Player - WVSports

Despite Gallagher’s experimentation on defense, West Virginia has experienced setbacks with key players sidelined during spring practices. Running back CJ Donaldson, tight end Kole Taylor, and offensive lineman Tomas Rimac have been limited to individual drills due to injury concerns. Additionally, defensive lineman Corey McIntyre Jr. suffered a significant lower-body injury during Monday’s practice, casting doubt on his availability for the upcoming season after showing promise as a freshman.

Special teams have been a focal point for improvement, particularly kickoff coverage, which proved to be a weakness for the Mountaineers in 2023. Brown emphasizes tackling fundamentals and technique drills to address missed tackles and improve overall coverage. While replicating full 11-on-11 scenarios is challenging in spring practices, the coaching staff prioritizes drills to enhance tackling efficiency without risking player injuries.

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