Football, Sports, WVU Sports

WVU hires Victor Cabral as outside linebackers coach

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia coach Neal Brown has filled one of two vacancies on his staff, announcing the hiring of new outside linebackers coach Victor Cabral on Monday.

Cabral, 42, comes to Morgantown following a one-year stint as defensive line coach at Appalachian State. 

“I would like to welcome Victor, his wife, Erin, and their family to West Virginia University and Mountaineer football,” Brown said in a statement. “I have a lot of respect for him having coached and recruited against him. He brings contagious positive energy, is a proven developer of pass rushers and is an effective recruiter.”

Prior to his year at App State, Cabral had three separate stints as an assistant at Georgia Southern, his alma mater, as well as stops at Georgia Military and Samford. WVU will be his first Power 5 job.

“Thanks to coach Neal Brown and vice president and director of athletics Wren Baker for giving me the opportunity to join the coaching staff at West Virginia,” Cabral said. “I am excited to become a part of Mountaineer football. This program has a long and successful history with a lot of tradition, and I have a lot of respect for the state of West Virginia, its people and their values. I look forward to working with (defensive coordinator) Jordan (Lesley), the coaching staff and the players.”

App State went 9-5 last season, winning a Sun Belt East Division title and defeating Miami (OH) in the Cure Bowl.

The team saw big gains in its pass rush with Cabral, recording 35 sacks and 87 tackles for loss last season, up from 29 and 69.5 in 2022.

Cabral will lead a relatively inexperienced group of outside linebackers for WVU this off-season. The Mountaineers’ most-experienced player, Jared Bartlett, transferred to Cincinnati earlier this month.

Returning for WVU at the position are Tyrin Bradley, who appeared in 12 games last season with 22 tackles and 2.5 sacks, and Brayden Dudley, who played in two games. Newcomers are Ty French, transferring in from FCS Gardner-Webb, and true freshman Obinna Onwuku.

Like App State, WVU too saw an improved pass rush in 2023. The Mountaineers recorded 33 sacks and 84 tackles for loss, up from 26 and 68 in 2022.

With Cabral’s hiring, some responsibilities will change on WVU’s defensive coaching staff. Jordan Lesley will be the defensive coordinator while relinquishing outside linebackers to Cabral.

ShaDon Brown will now be responsible for the entire secondary, including cornerbacks and safeties, and will continue to be co-defensive coordinator. Dontae Wright, who took the job as Troy’s defensive coordinator this off-season, previously coached WVU’s safeties.

Andrew Jackson will continue to coach the defensive line and Jeff Koonz will continue to coach inside linebackers.

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