CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The cult following George Shehl had during his days at West Virginia University has since left him, but he's on track to live up to the expectations of his former coach and boss, Rich Rodriguez.
Shehl, the 29-year-old defensive coordinator at the University of Charleston, spent four of his formative years as a holder for the Mountaineers (2002-06).
Despite being listed as a defensive back, Shehl spent his time in Morgantown holding on extra points for the majority of the college career of current Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee.
He's moving toward his ultimate goal of becoming a coach, something that Rodriguez envisioned, telling a Daily Mail reporter in 2005: "... he's going to be a heck of a college coach someday."
The Golden Eagles' assistant coach and defensive coordinator brought former WVU assistant Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 stack to the University of Charleston.
In his second season with Pat Kirkland, UC's head coach and also a former WVU assistant, it's showing dividends.
The Golden Eagles (7-2, 4-2 West Virginia Conference) will take a No. 6 NCAA Division II overall defensive ranking into Saturday's 1 p.m. visit to Buckhannon to face WVC foe West Virginia Wesleyan (3-6, 2-4).
"Experience, that's the biggest thing," Shehl said. "We got better every game last year ... better within the system and they started to understand what we wanted them to do.
"For the most part, it's the same guys. It's more about letting them play."
Despite a loss to Glenville State last week that put a major dent in UC's postseason hopes, the defense has held strong.
In fact, the five teams ahead of UC in the defensive national rankings have a combined four defeats and are ranked in the American Football Coaches Association Top 25.
The top-ranked defense is Indiana (Pa.), which is 8-1 (ranked 14th in AFCA Poll), followed by West Alabama at 7-2 (ranked 21st), Tuskegee (Ala.) at 7-1 (ranked 23rd), New Haven (Conn.) at 8-0 (ranked 3rd) and Minnesota State-Mankato at 9-0 (ranked 6th).
The Golden Eagles were No. 25 in the poll last week, but the loss to Glenville dropped them out of the national rankings. They also dropped three spots in the Super Region One rankings. They were sixth, in line for the last spot as the top six teams in reach region earn playoff berths. However, they are now ninth and Shepherd took their spot at No. 6.
The offense has had its moments and averages 27 points per game - good for second in the conference. However, the Golden Eagles were outscored an average of 15-10 in their two losses (16-10 to Shepherd and 14-10 to Glenville).