Sophomore linebacker Doug Rigg came into the season expected to compete for a starting role on the Mountaineer defense. After all, he did manage to play significant minutes in all 13 games last year as a true freshman on one of the best defenses in the country, rotating in amongst 3 seniors and a junior.
He may be a bit undersized for a linebacker, as some like to point out, but it's his effort and football IQ that makes Rigg stand out.
“I think I am getting better and better every day, I am able to see things faster and react to it faster,” Rigg said. “I am not thinking as much as I did last year, I am mostly focusing on playing fast and low like the fundamental stuff."
As with last season, when he made 5 tackles against them, Rigg had his best game of this season (so far) against the highest profile opponent in LSU when he had 9 tackles. The LSU game also brought with it the first significant injury to Rigg's college career when he suffered a broken wrist against the Tigers.
After a two game break in action due to the injury, Rigg returned to action against Syracuse, but has had to fight just as hard, if not harder, to return to the lineup. That's because, whether due to injury or just under-performance, Coach Holgorsen doesn't hold lineup spots for his players. It's the performance on the field (including practice) that matters. No one is allowed to slide by on past accolades or accomplishments.
"Now his job is to play better than the guys in front of him,'' Holgorsen said. "Do you lose your starting job to an injury? It depends on how you play once you get back. We're going to play the guys that are playing the best. Whether it's because of an injury or because of performance or because someone got better and beat you out, whatever it is, we're going to hold you accountable for your actions.'' - Charleston Gazette
With Rigg back, it gives Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel more options with his linebacker rotation, not only in numbers, but abilities as well:
"Doug will play. Jewone will play,'' Casteel said. "We'll play everybody and it gives us more flexibility now. We can do different things with Naj and Doug.'' - Charleston Gazettte
If past history holds true, Doug Rigg's future has the potential to shine bright under the tutelage of Casteel, who knows a thing or two about developing linebackers, even those who may have been initially underrated or undersized.