MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A transcript of WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen's weekly news conference:
Opening Statement We are pretty excited to get back to work here today and prepare for a good TCU football team and good football program coming into town this weekend. I have a lot of respect for coach Gary Patterson and what he has accomplished at TCU. He has won something like 85 percent of his games there. They have coaches that are used to winning. They have players and a fan base that are used to winning. They are coming off of a couple tough losses. They are in a new conference. The quality of opponent is pretty good. They are playing a lot of young kids, and we are expecting them to get better and better over the course of the season.
Offensively, they pose a lot of problems. They had to switch quarterbacks to Trevone Boykin. He is a freshman. He is a dual threat guy that is dangerous with his feet. He has some weapons around him. The receivers that they have are guys that could have gone to other quality, quality programs. They do a tremendous job of distributing the ball to a bunch of different people.
Defensively, they are playing really good. Gary’s defenses have been very good. They are giving up more points and yards than they would like. Everyone is complaining and asking what is wrong, but they are doing a good job of staying true to their schemes and coaching their kids up. I think they have one senior playing for them on defense. They have younger, inexperienced guys that play hard. They play with tremendous passion, and this year is no different. It is the same stuff. It is the same schemes and the same effort. They are playing some pretty good people.
What really stands out is their special teams play. They lead the Big 12 in many categories. Their punter is booming the ball. They have a lot of bodies and a lot of moving parts. They have a tremendous returner in Skye Dawson. He returns punts and kicks. He is dangerous when he gets out in the open. They have a lot of young guys that they play on their special teams units, and they do it well. It will be a challenge. We are looking forward to the matchup.
On similarities between the two teams I try not to compare anybody. We try to get to know our opponent as well as we can. We worry about ourselves and getting our guys ready to play. We want to get them prepared from a mentality standpoint, and we want to get them in the right frame of mind. We worry a little bit more about ourselves than the opponent. With that being said, we get to know the opponent as much as we can. We want to get the guys in the right frame of mind to execute.
On TCU’s defensive scheme They are sound. It is not difficult. They play their scheme well. They coach their mentality well. They coach their alignment and techniques well.
On Boykin possibly not playing We don’t know if he is going to play or not. They don’t know if any of our guys are going to play or not. You can prepare for what is on tape. They have a good quality quarterback behind him who won a state championship in high school. I doubt they are going to be able to change their scheme in a week. Schemes are hard to switch. What you do is what you do.
On changes in the past two week We haven’t changed a whole lot. Our mentality is good and our body language is good. Our confidence is back up, and our players are excited about playing. We want to practice hard this week and be excited about playing a football game to the best of our abilities.
On Geno Smith He is mature. You have to have a lot of guys like that. He has been in front of that camera a lot. He has been under center fielding snaps for many years, and he is one of the most experienced guys we’ve got. He knows how to handle situations because he has been there before. He needs to learn how to lose better. We talked about that this last week, but he is not responsible for the loss. There is a whole bunch of people, probably 50 or 60, that play in the game. There are coaches that are involved in the game. There are a whole lot of people that can accept responsibility for the loss.
On if TCU plays a mix of zone and man coverage within one snap Not as much. It is harder to do that with all the spread teams. They match routes a lot. They will play man. Sometimes I get confused if it is man or zone because there are a lot of matching routes that go on that look like man. It is 50 percent man or 50 percent zone pressure. They are very sound in what they do. They don’t have a lot of busted assignment. There aren’t a lot of blown coverages. They don’t beat themselves on defense. We can’t worry about them beating themselves. We have got to execute and know what they are doing. We have to play with high energy and make our own breaks.
It can deceive you. There is something to be said about his retentions with coaches. Dick Bumpas is a pretty good football coach. I got to know him a little bit. He has been coaching there for a long time. Chad Glasgow is back with him after one year at Texas Tech. Gary has been there for almost 15 years, and he has been doing the exact same stuff. When you get a whole bunch of people believing in what you are doing, you are going to be pretty good at it. That is a huge reason why their scheme is pretty good and they don’t have a lot of mistakes. They are all on the same page and are all coaching it the same way. That kind of coaching allows you to be a little more creative.
On the health of Stedman Bailey and how it affects the offense I didn’t know that our offensive problems were incredibly affected by one guy. Are we better with Stedman out there at 100 percent? Yes. Are we better with 100 percent out of Shawne Alston? Yes. Is that the reason we lost? No. There are a whole bunch of things that go into, but we are working hard to fix it.
On if the offense is different with Boykin at quarterback I’ll be honest – I didn’t study the offense much before. We had four good games that we used. The four games that we broke down are the ones that he has been in. He ran the ball a little bit more. You can’t come up with 100 different ways to put the ball in play, especially over the course of a week. They are missing a good running back, so their run game is probably isn’t as good as Gary wants it to be. They are moving the ball just fine. Defensively, we have to do a good job of pressuring the quarterback and trying to create turnovers. It is something that we have to do a better job of doing.
On what has been the difference over the past few weeks for TCU Turnovers. They won a couple games at the beginning of the year. They played a tough Oklahoma State team last week. Iowa State made some plays against them and played well. I don’t know. You have to worry about what you have seen them do lately – that is what they are going to build on. I could go back 12 years in terms of what they done defensively. There is enough material out there. At this time of the year, you don’t have to do a lot of research. There aren’t many tricks out there.
On if WVU will practice inside today I figured we were preparing for Rutgers with this weather. We had the same stuff this time last year. We managed to go outside in a very tough environment at Rutgers and be successful. There was rain, sleet, snow and wind. There was chaos and a tough opponent. We will probably go outside and throw snowballs around to get used to the weather. The weather is setting in, so maybe the weather will be like this Saturday. We played in conditions like this last year and were able to win. We will probably do some of our work inside. It is the same situation that many teams around this area face. You have to deal with the weather. We are not going to panic about it.
On practice reps for the younger receivers that are now playing more When you make the decision to play them, you probably have to play them more. Before, we would have them with us half the time and with scout team half the time. Since we made the decision to play them, they will be 100 percent with us. With that said, yes, their reps went up. Their playing time will be determined by how they do in practice.
On how the young receivers played in the game They did OK, just OK. Everyone played just OK. They wouldn’t be an appropriate statement. We didn’t play well. They didn’t hurt the team, but they didn’t do anything fantastic, which is an understatement.
On the defense We had three practices last week. I was proud of how they played with effort. They were attentive. They kept playing. If 5-2 teams that are coming off of a loss pout, then they are probably not going to finish the year well. There are a whole bunch of teams in the same situation that we are. There are some teams coming off of losses. How you handle those losses comprises what you are going to be made of. They were physical and played up with effort. We wanted them to get away from it and be 18- to 22-year old kids. They came back Sunday ready to go. They were glad to be back on Sunday. We had a good practice up at the indoor facility, and hopefully, they do the same thing.
On Geno’s arm durability and the helpfulness of the bye week I don’t think the arm is a big deal. We are only out there three or four days a week. From a mentality standpoint, it came at the right time.
On recruiting last week This was harder to tell because we are in some new spots. We are in some areas that we were in before, but we were there to evaluate and get into some spots that we hadn’t seen yet. We did a good job of evaluating guys with some long flights and some long drives despite having to get back here for practice on Sunday. It was good to set our eyes on people. Just because they see a West Virginia guy, doesn’t make them automatically say I want to go to West Virginia. These kids have many options. It allowed us to evaluate them and decide whether we are going on them or not going on them. We have to spend many hours recruiting these guys over the next two to three months. We don’t know how it will play out. Who knows what the trick will be to landing a kid. It is our job to figure that out.
From a presence it helps to be there. We want to see them in person to see their size. You can’t tell any of that stuff on tape. You have to put your own eyes on them. When you are recruiting a junior college guy, you don’t want to be wrong. You have to indentify your need, and then see if that kid fits your need. Then, he has to research us. They don’t want to go there and sit behind a guy for two years and not play.