MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Select members of the West Virginia University football team met with the media on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, at the Milan Puskar Center Team Room.
On the keys to transitioning from camp to game week
Just making sure everybody is rested and ready to go. We have some guys nagging. It’s just camp life basically. You just have to get rested and start game planning. We need to prepare for the offense and learn their personnel and their schemes in how they do stuff.
On excitement with camp coming to a close
It’s bittersweet right now. We didn’t have the best day today, but we are always working for the next day. That’s camp life, and that’s adversity. Striking. That’s just football, basically. Today we didn’t come out doing the things that we needed to do, but guess what, there is always tomorrow. That’s the thing though. It’s winding down, and we really need to step up as a defense and find our identity. We need to get back to what we were doing at the beginning of camp and really flying to the ball and making those strides. It’s not like we are kind of freaking out right now, but it’s approaching. The game is here, and we need to be where we need to be coming up soon.
On what went wrong at today’s camp
Sometimes it’s just guys losing focus of the big picture, and it’s easy to do. That comes with maturity and the game experience. It’s not like we had a bad day today. We just need to work on some things. We want to be the greatest defense that plays in the Big 12 Conference, and when we do things that doesn’t allow us to do that people get flustered. I need to remind myself and some of my teammates that it is a process. Sometimes the process is bigger than one practice. It’s a team oriented game, so everybody has to do their job. It’s something that we are looking forward too. It’s bittersweet that camp is almost over. Yes, people are looking to rest up, but we are definitely looking to make more strides in what we need to do to play a good defense.
On how to use his body as an advantage
Every day is a process, and we are taught that no matter how good you are. If you don’t use proper technique than anyone can defeat you, especially at the Division I level and West Virginia. We play big opponents. In high school, everyone is just kind of small. When you arrive at the college level, you realize that they recruit for a reason. They have size. They have measurable and more importantly it’s a process in learning how to use my body, my tangibles, and being longer than everybody else. People don’t reach my chest, because I’m taller. I have to make sure I keep shorter guys away from me. Once again, that goes to the coaches that let me understand that with my type of body this is the way you have to play, and I think that’s helped me get to where I am today.
On his family’s reaction to his scholarship offer
They were proud in the spring, and they are proud now. My family is a tremendous support for me, even though they are all the way back in New York. They keep in touch with me every day, and I can’t be more proud of my accomplishments to make them proud. I am happy, and they are happy for me. Definitely.
On the educational benefits with being on a scholarship
It’s beneficial. It’s a real blessing, and I can’t thank the coaches enough because I am going to be able to graduate on time and according to plan. That was a real big thing for me too and I am just really happy that I was able to take classes during the summer and get on course with my graduation. It definitely helped.
On the progression of the offensive line
It helps that we are putting all our time into film. If we understand what is going on in the film room then we can see the defense on the field and read it out, and pick up everything. We have the strength and ability to maybe hold up some of the extra work if need be.
On his progression thus far
I think about all the hard work that I have been putting in throughout the years and adjusting to the game speed. I have been putting as much work as I could in the strength and conditioning room to get to where I am now.
On what goes into being a successful offensive lineman
You have to have it all pretty much. You just need to have the focus, and if you go through a bump in the road you just need to realize that it is going to go away eventually. You just have to worry about your job and push everybody else around you.
On the bond between the offensive line core
We all live together and hang out together. Even when we are together we just try to have a really good personal level. We still get on each other. If somebody is doing something wrong then we are going to get in your face and do something about it. It is just a feeling that we care.
Paul is consistent out there. He’s been here for a while, and he knows what to do. He’s a god guy for the program. He’s a phenomenal ping-pong player. No one on the team can beat him. He’s a good teammate and a good leader for (freshman quarterback) William Crest.
On William Crest
He’s a very athletic kid. He’s a very strong, stout kid. He just needs to figure it out mentally, but he’s getting there.
On shoulder pain
I get twinges every once in a while, but I’ve had those before. We throw a lot of balls here, so it’s hard to tell whether that’s from throwing or surgery. I like to think it’s from throwing. Last year, I kind of become numb to it. It’s so constant that it’s hard to tell whether it’s throwing or surgery pain.
On improvement during camp
The offensive line has played phenomenal as a whole. They’ve been blocking six guys with five guys. All of the running backs have stepped up, and as a whole we have really improved. We still have one more day. I’m going to tell the guys tomorrow that we will take the scrimmage as game prep. We need to take it as “you’re not playing (sophomore cornerback) Daryl Worley
, you’re playing Alabama”. I know the Georgia Dome, and it’s atmosphere can sneak up on you, and I don’t want that. I want this practice tomorrow to be like a game. I want us to take that tomorrow and work on that, and then next week we will game plan.
On the Alabama game
We have two weeks left and school is starting. We’ve done our individual homework on them, but we are going to get it together as a team. Coaches are going to get it together this weekend.
On simulating a crowd
It’s a lot different. The sound in that dome stays in there. There are SEC bands who play their music loud and proud. There’s so much pageantry with it. Hopefully we travel well. We always do, but I would think that the majority would be Alabama fans, because they’re right down the road. We have some things that we do for noise whether it be signals or silent plays. We never let noise dictate what we do.
On competition for starting wide receiver spot
Everybody is just trying to go out there and get a job. I feel very confident about all of the guys, and we’re just pushing to see where we will go.
On Clint’s leadership this camp
There’s a very big difference between this year and last year. He’s more vocal. He will come to the sideline and tell us what he sees and what he wants us to do.
On personal goals
I just want to win. I don’t really care about stat numbers, just getting the win.
On transitioning from camp to practice
We will just focus on our tasks. Whatever schemes and things that we need to do, we will focus on.
I’m finally feeling healthy. I’m doing very well. I’m able to take reps with everybody. I’m ready and I’m excited. Being away from the game for so long is hard, especially when you’re grinding in the offseason. Being able to play the game is great. It’s the reason I’m here besides going to school, so it’s go time now.
Being injured made me more mentally tough. I had to go through a lot of things and overcome things as well. That’s what pulls me through.
On team as a whole
There are a lot of great players here, and a lot of people who can make plays. You see it every day at practice. Every day, somebody different stands up. That’s big for the team.
On cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell
He’s a great coach. He has so much knowledge of the game and so many things that can help us. He lets us know that it’s not just about our position, but knowing football as well. We have to have a great football IQ. He’s very chill, but he will snap if he has to. He has done that a few times to let us know we have to be on our game.
On competition for the second starting spot
There’s great competition between me and (redshirt senior cornerbacks) Ishmael Banks
and Travis Bell
. We have to go out there and make plays. You have to make the reps count; you can’t just count the reps. They drive me every day to play my best. We just want to be out there and complement (sophomore) Daryl Worley
, because he’s such a great and special player.