The Mountaineers coaching staff has seen some signs of improvement on a unit that's leaned heavily on first-year players. Freshmen linebacker Isaiah Bruce and safety Karl Joseph are 1-2 in tackles and combine for two of the team's six interceptions.
In a 39-38 double-overtime loss to TCU last week, West Virginia's defense gave up the fewest points in five games. One of TCU's touchdowns came on special teams.
"I thought we communicated better," DeForest said. "I thought we flew around better than we have since the James Madison game (Sept. 15). The emotion and the energy and the intensity that we played with, I thought it was obvious watching."
Still, West Virginia was inept at the worst possible times against TCU, giving up a 94-yard touchdown pass in the closing minutes of regulation when the defense lost track of a receiver, allowing a 25-yard TD strike in the second overtime and the ensuing two-point conversion pass that pushed the Mountaineers' losing streak to three games.
"What we need to do this week is continue to work on the little things that cost us the game," DeForest said. "There were five plays that if we would have made one of those plays, it would have been a different outcome.
"Games are won and lost by doing the little things right the whole game, and I think our kids realize we played really, really good, except for those five plays and it cost us. So now hopefully we'll have a prolonged period of consistency and concentration."