MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- In new West Virginia cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell's mind, the 2013 season is neither a second chance for the Mountaineers' corners nor the first year under a new assistant coach.
It's merely a new set of downs.
The Mountaineers finished last season ranked No. 118 in pass defense and allowed 312.8 yards per game. Daron Roberts was fired as cornerbacks coach and Coach Dana Holgorsen reached into his past and hired the former East Carolina defensive coordinator.
Mitchell cares not for what his new players did in what is now their former life.
"Everyone got a clean slate," said Mitchell, a former NFL player and college assistant at BYU and with Holgorsen at Texas Tech. "Yeah, I'm going to go back and watch film. I want to know weaknesses and strengths, but we went into the offseason six or seven weeks ago and gave everyone a clean slate and said, 'Let's move forward.' We put last year's experience in the rearview mirror."
WVU allowed 99 pass plays of more than 15 yards last season. Nobody gave up more. WVU allowed 45 pass plays of 20 yards or more. Only Duke was worse by surrendering eight more.
Yet Mitchell didn't need to watch the tape to know his players were at the root of a lot of that trouble. He didn't have to pore over plays and series to see what had gone wrong.
"I didn't care," he said. "It doesn't matter now."
What's important now in Mitchell's first spring with the Mountaineers and the seven healthy cornerbacks on scholarship - Terrell Chestnut is out injured - is what the players put on tape in the 14 practices before the Gold-Blue Game on April 20.
Their history is just that.
"I know what it takes to develop corners and the No. 1 thing for corner play is you need a group of fearless players out there," Mitchell said.
Last season was particularly frightening for WVU, but Mitchell doesn't want that to be a part of the thinking.
He doesn't want it to serve as a reminder of the low moments or as motivation to reach new heights. Like it is during a game, he wants his players to have a short memory in the offseason, too.