MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– Select members of the West Virginia University football coaching staff meet with the media on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, at the Milan Puskar Center Team Room.
Assistant Coach (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks) Shannon Dawson
On competition between the one, two and three spot
If you look at our offense as far as 11 starters go, there are probably more that just have to work on getting better. There are certain positions that are competing. I think you always leave the door open for those backups to compete and beat them. You got to show us something. The same thing I told the quarterback room. The only thing coaches can give you is an opportunity. You get out there and make the most of your opportunity. If you start turning coach’s heads then you can roll up. Obviously, some of those guys are going to be extremely hard to beat out. Running back position is a perfect example. That is a competitive group. There are five capable bodies there. Reps are spread thin throughout that group. When you get opportunities you have to take advantage of it.
On opportunities for new players to move up
There is with base on how we’re playing. When you try to play at a higher rate of speed then people are going to get tired quicker. I think offensively and defensively in the Big 12, it’s crucial to try to get two deep. Defensively, you look out there at our number two defense, and we have a lot of capable bodies out there. People are going to get tired, especially those big guys. Having guys behind them that can go out there and execute the offense is extremely important. With the nature of how football is being played today, especially with the league that we’re in, it’s important that you have more than 11.
On offensive line depth
Probably. It’s hard to sit here and go year to year. I still don’t think we are as deep up front as we need to be, but we’re deep enough. Probably as deep as we been. We need to get seven or eight in a rotation. I never had as many as 10, but typically you have a starting five and at least two guys that can bump. Your next tackle needs to be probably both or your next guy on the left side needs to be playing guard and tackle or your next guy on the right side needs to be playing guard and tackle. There has to be a combination of at least seven to eight guys within that that are moving parts. Whether it be a guard moving out to tackle or just a tackle that can play both sides. That always changes year to year depending on who your personnel is.
On the energy within the offensive line
There is a different air to our team. There is no doubt about it. I think that over the offseason we grew as a team. If you look across the board on our team, there are a lot of guys that are walking on the field that have been playing for three years. Obviously, those guys two or three years ago as true freshman weren’t as good as their going to be this year. Just having them here for two or three years bonding as a team is big. I will say that this year’s offseason is a little bit different than most. Especially down there in the weight room. The way our strength coach’s went about their business and the way the kids bought in. It doesn’t matter what you do as coaches. The biggest deal depending on whether you win or lose is whether the kid is buying and that has more to do with factors in the player group than anything. Most coaches out there are preaching good stuff. Trying to get the kids to buy into the good beliefs and philosophies. You have to have a good core group of believers. I feel like we have that.
Assistant Coach (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers) Tony Gibson
On how practice is going thus far
It’s a process. Monday was disappointing in our practice on the defensive side of the ball. I didn’t think our linebackers were playing physical, so I had a little “Come to Jesus” meeting with those guys on Monday, and yesterday was much better.
On the play of the linebackers
(Linebacker) Nick Kwiatkowski had his best practice in probably the last two years that I’ve been here. I thought he was doing some really good things. (Linebacker) Edward Muldrow
is coming into his own; he’s doing some good things. (Linebacker) Wes Tonkery
, from day one to right now, has had the best stuff we’ve seen so he’s come along well. It hurts our linebacking unit when we don’t have a guy like (linebacker) Brandon Golson
in there that gives us so much.
On (linebacker) Nick Kwiatkowski playing Will and Sam before moving to Mike
Any time you can do that – he understands what those outside guys need to do. It really helps him in the whole scheme of things. He’s an athletic kid; he’s 235 pounds so he can play the iso, the power – all the things we need to do at the Mike. He’s also athletic enough to cover people and drop in our pass game.
He compliments (linebacker Brandon) Golson really well, because he’s got the same kind of athletic ability. We can blitz him off the edges. I think it’s a bad match up for the offense getting him on offensive tackle, so in that aspect he can do some really good things in the blitz game. He plays with such high energy and effort. He can run stuff down in the open field. He needs to get under control a little bit. He misses some tackles just for the fact that he’s full speed all the time. I’ll never question his effort. He just needs to get under control.
Senior Associate Head Coach (Defensive Line) Tom Bradley
On satisfaction of executing
I don’t think any coach is ever satisfied with anything. There is always room for improvement. We go out every day and try to improve. We have a lot of work to do. So we are at the point now, where it is a matter of understanding the urgency of getting better. There is an urgency factor that goes into this, and we have to go out every day and practice with a purpose. We can’t afford to waste a day. We can’t afford to waste the time, and I think that is the one thing that head coach Dana Holgorsen is trying to emphasize. It’s football time now, and we’re limited. Time is our enemy. That’s always the way it is with football. As a coach, you never feel that you have enough time, so we have to do a great job every minute we can at teaching, coaching or whatever. We don’t have that luxury of wasting time.
On comfort level with the rotation
Yeah, I think there is a number, and I have that number in my mind already. I think after this many days there is a rotation we start to work with. We’ll start to eventually make that move. Right now we are just trying to teach everybody the scheme.
On the mentality of the players after the first couple hitting sessions
It is not where we are at the point to challenge everyone to go practice every day and get better every day. Okay. Does it become a grind? Yeah, but everybody is going through the same grind right now. I mean we just started. It’s been day three in pads and it’s time now where we better start making improvements.
For Shaquille Riddick
, these days are even more important. A lot of the other guys have been through this. They know the calls. Words are different. Word association is different. He is going through this thing constantly. It gets a little bit more difficult as we start adding on. The other guys have a firm base. Shaq has started from nowhere to learn the names, the defenses, the calls the guys have been making, the signals and everything. Shaq has the most learning of anybody this year other than the freshman coming in.
On Redshirt Freshman Defensive Lineman Jon Lewis
is a guy that I admire greatly. I think he is a guy that comes out to practice every day hard. He loves West Virginia University. He’s proud of West Virginia University. He is a guy that I really enjoy coaching. One thing about Jon is that you never question him. He is going to give you an A+ effort every time he walks on the field. He is a fun guy to be around and the way he works. I think he has the respect of all his teammates.
Assistant Coach (Linebackers) Damon Cogdell
On working with the defensive line as a former linebacker
It’s not very different, but I’ve enjoyed it. It’s a great group of kids who want to learn, so it’s great.
On learning how to coach linebackers
You know what’s funny? Throughout the coaching venue, I’ve really worked with every position on the field so it makes it easier for me. I’ve been coaching for a while so it’s been really easy for me.
On who’s been a highlight so far
In this group, you have about five to six potential starters that will compete day in and day out. I told them yesterday we’re going to shake up the beehive. We’re going to mix and match so everyone can compete and help finish out our starting spot. For the D-line there’s really one A and one B, so those guys have to continue to play for us all game.
On the depth at defensive line
With the defensive line, these guys go down all the time. They play hard for us, and they know the defense. We’ve just got to continue to get better day in and day out.
Assistant Coach (Offensive Line) Ron Crook
On the depth at offensive line this year
I think it makes it easier from the standpoint that we’ve been together for a year now. We kind of know what to expect from each other, and what I expect when we go out on the field. You kind of get a feel for how they react in different situations, so that’s the part that makes it a lot better.
On the difficulties of keeping the group healthy
It’s always hard. There’s nothing about it that’s easy. When we get to this point, we’re all about getting things moving in the right direction. Working to stay healthy; working to make improvements all across the board.
I think it has been good. He’s been doing well so far. Being able to be out there and be the one taking reps again has meant a lot to him. You can tell it’s important to him, because he’s worked really hard at it.
Assistant Coach (Receivers) Lonnie Galloway
On having pads on
It’s always close between my group and assistant coach (cornerbacks) Brian Mitchell’s group. It’s good competition. We are trying to get the best out of them, and they are trying to get the best out of us. In my opinion, we want to win every day so that’s how I approach it with my guys.
On evaluating certain players in pads
For the most part, freshman wide receiver Lamar Parker
is the new guy, so the rest of them I already seen in pads. The thing about putting pads on, it’s just another element. You just can’t go and forget exactly what we’re doing. Alright the pads are on, we are going to hit and try to knock people out and catch the ball, but you can’t forget your technique and stuff like that. It’s just some of those things. Trying to get after each other on the first day always brings a lot of energy to the guys.
Freshman Wide Receiver Shelton Gibson
is doing some good things. He is still basically a freshman trying to go out there and learn what to do. He’s made some catches, and he’s dropped some stuff, but other than that we are glad to have him. He is a strong, physical kid that can run, so that’s good to have out there. He’ll get better. These 29 practices that we have will make him better.
On working individually with the running backs
They are learning what the wide-outs do. Head coach Holgorsen has stressed if you want to get on the field, then you better be ready to play more than one position. So they go through a lot of their receiver drills with myself and assistant coach (running backs) JaJuan Seider do some of the same drills. It’s kind of one of those things where they are learning what to do when they’re out, they’re lined up.
On redshirt Senior Logan Moore splitting reps between Quarterback and Wide Receiver
is a utility guy. He plays quarterback and does some special teams and lines up in the slots. He should know it all, being a quarterback. He knows what he is doing, so he is good to have in the room and the guys like it. They enjoy him being out there