09 August 2012
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen addresses the media after Thursday, Aug. 9, practice.
There was a lot of energy and competition tonight. We were out there for a good two hours and 45 minutes or close to it. It became more competitive, and there was more energy as the practice went on. That means that these guys are excited about being out there, excited about playing, obviously that is a good thing, but there were also bad things. That’s what camp is all about, playing a lot of bodies. We’re not trying to narrow anything down at this point, so we’ll getting a lot of bodies in there, which means a lot of mistakes throughout camp. We will evaluate the film tonight as coaches and come back and do a whole bunch of teaching tomorrow morning and tomorrow afternoon, before we get in practice No. 9 and No. 10.
On what he now knows about the team
Camp is three weeks, so you try to figure out your team in three weeks and then at that point you get tired of practicing against each other and you really can’t tell anything until you play that first game. Once you play that first game it’s all about how much improvement you make from game one to game two to game three, before you figure out what your team is all about. The only think I can see is there is a lot of energy out there. There are a lot of guys who enjoy playing football, and there is a lot of energy. Does that mean we’ll be good and capable of winning games? That doesn’t mean that, but we have a bunch of guys with the right attitude that want to play which means we should get better throughout the course of camp.
On if there are noticeable differences in the new defense
There are quite a bit. We still have three down linemen, but as far as the specific gaps and blitzes and coverage’s, there are all kind of differences. If we decided to go to a four down front with four d-linemen, there will certainly be different blitzes and coverages, stunts and twists. It’s completely different. It’ll look different. The stack is a good defense, the 3-4 is a good defense, the 4-3 is a good defense, and it’s about having a bunch of guys knowing what there assignment is and what their technique is.
On what areas he’s happy with and what areas need to improve
With the o-line, you knew what you were getting with (Joey) Madsen, (Jeff) Braun and (Josh) Jenkins, those guys have played a lot of football around here and solidified the inside. Pat Eger had his problems last year, but is a returning starter. He is playing better, and we have the ability to move him down to guard. Curtis Feigt looks like a different guy, we’d feel much more comfortable putting him in. (Quinton) Spain looks like a different guy, we’d feel much more comfortable putting him in. We feel really good about them, we’re trying to find some more guards. We’ve identified some guys with depth, we’re just trying to find a few more. Obviously, we have a couple of receivers who can play, but we need five more, and I’m not sure who they will be. I feel good about the o-line. Those guys are playing well right now.
On the linebacker situation
You have three returning starters in (Jared) Barber, (Doug) Rigg and (Jewone) Snow. They played a lot last year. Najee Goode was the guy who held that together and finding a guy that can replace him from a leadership standpoint, toughness standpoint and playmaking ability standpoint, we haven’t found that yet. We have three guys who have starting experience and then we’ve moved Shaq Petteway and Isaiah Bruce in there. Those are two guys that are really athletic, but just don’t have that much experience. We’re rolling a lot of bodies in there and trying to find the appropriate two people, but we haven’t found that out yet.
On the energy infusion
We coach it, that’s what they pay us to do. That’s something we believe in, and we’ve talked a lot about body language, a lot about confidence, a lot about effort, energy and excitement. I truly believe you can coach that stuff like you can coach where to line up on a specific play. Ultimately the guys have to buy into it and feel good about it. We coach it and steer them in the right direction. They need to feel good about doing it, and I saw a lot of that out there today.
On how the team session went
It’s fun. One thing as a head coach that gets me fired up is when we put the ball down and score. The offense runs into the end zone and has a good time. The next time we put it down and play it and throw an interception in the end zone. The defense is in the end zone hootin’ and hollerin’ and having a good time. If it’s just 100 percent one-sided, it’s not going to do any good. If there is competition, and it goes back and forth, then you have a chance to be successful.
On Dustin Garrison being back to full contact
He didn’t want to be in the green, we just figured we would give him a couple of days to back off a little bit. He has been working through it, and that’s always a work in progress. Especially for a running back, when they need to make those cuts.
On what goes through his mind when he sees K.J. Dillon
Excitement, when he gets two interceptions in team (period) like he did today. He’s going to play. His job is to try and push for a starting job. Karl Joseph is a guy who is always around the ball, he’s a freshman, but we don’t tell them they’re freshmen, we tell them that they’re no different than what Darwin Cook is or some of the seniors. He’s learning, he’s young and he’s going to make mistakes, but he’s a physical guy out there. We have two young safeties that we feel good about.
On how to coach rule changes
We sit here and talk to them about it. We had a Big 12 referee come in and explain it so the guys can ask questions, and they’ll hear it from the referees. We try to practice it as much as we can. Obviously, the kickoff rule is different so when we’re out there we practice it and tell them what the rules are. The helmet rule is new. Throughout the course of a play if someone’s helmet comes off you need to take them off the field for a play. We try to emulate those situations.
On if he cares about being on a stage where he can run 80 or 90 plays
We could do it, but we’re not going to. There is a whole bunch of drill work and stuff we need to address. If you put the ball down and play all day, you’re going to get a bunch of guys hurt. We try to keep that in small segments.
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