MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The tempo for West Virginia's spring football practices is not a problem for Josh Francis.
The workouts and the new Mountaineer linebacker are all about speed.
"The big thing is doing what I'm supposed to do when I'm supposed to do it," Francis said after a recent practice.
The deal is that Francis, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound transfer from Lackawanna Junior College in Scranton, Pa., might not yet grasp all the nuances in WVU's 3-3-5 odd stack scheme, but when he flies from the weakside spot, it's easy to see he's going to play.
"Josh has great athleticism, head to toe, and he's so fast. The guy's a flying bullet," said WVU strongside starter Najae Goode, the experienced veteran (13 career starts) among a young Mountaineer unit. "This defense is a little different to learn, but the stuff we build on every day, he's already a lot better.
"The big thing is that Josh's 50 percent is 100 percent for everybody else, kind of like that."
Francis, of Damascus, Md., has a distinctive nickname - "Road Closed."
He arrived at WVU with an idea that he isn't supposed to be like most other new faces in Coach Bill Stewart's final season. After all, he was one of only two junior college signees in the 2011 recruiting class.
He was needed on a linebacker unit that lost 79 career starts, from a defense that ranked third nationally last season.
"The expectations, a junior coming in, you're not really supposed be on the bench, a lot of fans have expectations of you because of what you did in junior college," Francis said. "When you come in and don't produce, it's bad.
"It's not so much stressful from a player-to-fan sort of view, but stressful because I know I'm a good player and I know I can make plays ... When you're in a new system, learning new things, new plays, it's hard to adjust real fast.
"And when you're not making plays, that is stressful."
WVU defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jeff Casteel, after only six spring workouts, isn't ready to call Francis a starter ... yet.
"We really like him," Casteel said. "Josh is a guy who can move around, really explosive and has a big punch. He's not a big kid, but he's got a lot of pop in him. He's still learning a little bit about what we're doing. but you can see he's got a lot of natural ability.