Rigg Young and Confident

  • By Brian Kuppelweiser
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  • July 14, 2011 10:00 AM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For an incoming freshman player at a Division I football program, there can be a good bit of confusion when it comes to learning the respective playing schemes of a team.

Add to that the unusual 3-3-5 stack defense of coordinator Jeff Casteel, and a player’s head may be left spinning in the first few weeks of summer camp.

However, in the event a newcomer does pick up the system rather quickly, it likely means that he will be getting more reps when the season rolls around.

Sophomore linebacker Doug Rigg was one of those lucky individuals last season, as he saw action in all 13 games, played on the kickoff coverage and kickoff return units and recorded 14 total tackles.

“The reason I was able to grasp the 3-3-5 scheme last year was because I was put in a spot where I could potentially play, but there were a lot of seniors in front of me,” said Rigg. “Coach Casteel wasn’t easy on me about picking up the scheme. If guys know that they will have a chance to play, they will put it into gear and push each other.”

Not only did Rigg’s ability to quickly pick up Casteel’s defense benefit him last season, but it has also helped him grow into a potential starter as WVU prepares for the 2011 season.

The Oradell, N.J., native is listed as the starting strong-side linebacker on the preseason depth chart that was released in mid-June.

“The competition is really neck-and-neck because a lot of people play the sam position when we are rotating during the game,” Rigg said. “A lot of people are going to be playing hard for that spot, but hopefully, I can step up in this summer’s camp and grab a spot.”

Rigg’s playing time, however, may not be limited to the strong side linebacker position though, as he may also get an opportunity to play in the middle of the 3-3-5 scheme.

“If I had a choice of what position to play, I would play outside, but I can play inside as well,” Rigg said. “It is not a matter of where to play to me, because I will do whatever the coaching staff asks me to do.”

Rigg went on to explain the different nuances that come with playing the inside versus the outside in the defensive alignment.

“Inside is much harder because there are a lot of big guys down in there, and you have to be able to see over them,” Rigg said. “On the outside during the running game, you have an easier view, but during the passing game on the inside is easier. Those are the main differences between the running game and the passing game when playing the inside or the outside.

“The assignments are very different. If you are on the outside, you can do something wrong, but it is the middle guy’s responsibility to cover it up. Basically, when you are in the middle, you have to see everything and be in perfect communication with the outside guys.”

Luckily for Rigg, fellow linebacker Najee Goode played a similar role last season and has become someone to model his game after.

“Hopefully, I can be that type of player where Casteel will say play outside or inside without him having to worrying about if I know what to do,” Rigg said. “Najee makes it look easier because he can play outside or inside.”

Despite the difficulties that come with playing different linebacker positions, and being just a sophomore, Rigg isn’t one to shy away when the possibility of being a starting linebacker pops up.

“I’m very confident because I have traveled to all the different games, I have seen how big the guys on opposing teams are and I have gotten yelled at by the coaches,” Rigg said. “I know what really goes into being a linebacker that is going to play a large amount of snaps. I am real confident that I can be a guy that can grab a starting spot.”


Doug Rigg, West Virginia University Mountaineers, WVU, NCAA college football