Travis Bell, Ishmael Banks and Daryl Worley started for the Mountaineers this season. Patterson believes each can be a safety, though he likes Banks at cornerback and liked the way he played in 2013.
Worley was a high school safety who was moved to cornerback as a freshman this past season and grabbed a starting spot in the middle of the season. He was the starting free safety in the final game of the season and might not be moving anytime soon.
"I think his natural position is free safety, I really do," Patterson said. "He does some good things at corner, but he has the skills to play free. But it depends on recruiting and who we get. That's when we can look at all the pieces and find out where they go."
WVU is targeting cornerbacks in recruiting, and natural cornerbacks who can press and play man-to-man better than the current batch. There are takers already in Dravon Henry of Aliquippa (Pa.) High, Jaylon Myers of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College and Keishawn Richardson of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Community College, who signed Wednesday.
If WVU finds players there, or from within, Patterson can consider moving Bell and Worley to safety to give the Mountaineers depth there with Dillon, Jarrod Harper, Malik Greaves, Jeremy Tyler. Joseph can then solve the spur.
It's bold, but doable. The early returns suggest WVU recruited very well last year. Gross, Worley and nose guard Darrien Howard were forced to play as true freshmen, but they filled roles and showed signs. Defensive end Dontrill Hyman and linebacker Brandon Golson were hits as junior college transfers. Golson started every game at buck linebacker, learned how to get in the backfield and ranked No. 2 nationally in forced fumbles while Hyman provided pressure and depth before an ankle injury stalled him late in the season.
"We've still got to get people who can impact the quarterback," Patterson said. "That's going to be a huge emphasis to help us up front and in the back, but if we can bring in people who can do what Dontrill did before he got hurt in the Texas game and who can do what Brandon Golson did for us, if we can get that or better at certain positions, they I think we can improve drastically."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu.