Dana Holgorsen addresses the media following Thursday's practice at Milan Puskar Stadium.
All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks photo
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen's post-practice remarks on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012:
- Opening statement We have two more days of camp, before we break and today was as good as it’s been, especially defensively from an effort standpoint and energy standpoint. They’re starting to fly around and make some plays. We haven’t nailed anything down from a depth chart standpoint, so we’ll continue to evaluate all of our guys. We haven’t broken up into scout teams or any of that, so we’ll continue to evaluate our guys over the next two days prior to breaking camp. For the next two days, it’s about staying the course, keep evaluating and get to the point where we know where we’re at Monday.
- On how much evaluation is left Various guys we feel good about. We’re still repping about 15 guys on the d-line, which you can’t do that. You have to narrow it down to the guys you feel good about playing and practicing to where you can see guys separate themselves. In certain positions, we can see it separating from starters to backups. For instance at receiver, we feel that Stedman (Bailey) is an obvious starter, Jordan Thompson is an obvious starter, Tavon Austin is an obvious starter and J.D. Woods is an obvious starter. Then you have backups, and we’ll assess all of the backups to where we can find out how much they can handle playing. We’re not sure where the d-line is at yet. Some areas we feel good about, some areas we don’t.
- On the absence of Geno Smith from practice His grandmother passed away, so he took a few days to go back home to spend time with his family, and he’ll be back by school. It gives us an opportunity to rep Paul (Millard) and Ford (Childress) a lot, so they got a whole bunch of reps, and we’ll continue to do that for the next two days.
- On if Smith’s absence helps Millard and Childress They been getting a lot of reps. Geno probably takes 50 percent of the reps, maybe slightly higher than that and then we split the other 40 percent approximately between the two. Ford’s a guy who is talented, but he is where Paul was a year ago from a knowledge standpoint and a rep standpoint. It goes from getting 20-25 percent of the reps to getting 50 percent of the reps, which means they get better. They look like young, inexperienced backup quarterbacks out there and the more they rep the better they’ll be at it. Heaven forbid ever having to be in that situation to have to put them in with the first string, because Geno clearly makes everybody else around him better. Both Ford and Pat, who rep with the first team, don’t necessarily make everyone around them better.
- On when the depth chart will be ready We’ll work towards getting it settled on Tuesday. Sunday will be a lifting and running day and Monday will be a day off, because it’s the first day of school. We’ll regroup and get it relatively in order for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We don’t want to go into the real game week having to rep three people at each position, you can’t do it. I don’t mind repping three at each position next week, but then the next week we have to narrow it down to who will play.
- On where the d-line is right now There are so many young guys, we’re talking about five new freshmen. We didn’t have a whole lot of depth at that position either. If you look at how many returning guys with experience, you’re looking at Shad (Rowell) with minimal experience last year, Jorge Wright who is a returning starter, Will Clarke who is a returning starter, (J.B.) Lageman had very few snaps last year, other than that none of those guys played. You mix the freshmen in with a bunch of guys who haven’t played and you just try to find out the next group of guys. Obviously, Jorge is going to play, and Will is going to play, and then you rep guys who have some experience and then mix all of the young guys in to figure out what they can do well, and what they can’t do as well. We don’t have any Bruce Irvins at this point, so we’re just trying to find guys that can rush the passer and trying to locate bigger guys who can stop the run like Julian (Miller) did for us.
- On what the final number of d-lineman will be Probably 12. I’d say we will carry 12, but if we’re playing 12 that means nobody has established themselves, that’s still too many to play. We don’t have to narrow it down at this point. We’re going to have to start narrowing it down next week. I would guess that eight-to-nine probably need to play.
- On what the number to carry is for receivers I’d be comfortable naming those four guys I mentioned earlier as the starters right now. The backup receivers aren’t going to play as much as the backup d-linemen, because it’s a harder position. There are always four d-lineman on the field, I’m counting that Buck position as a d-lineman position, because he is a bigger guy that plays a lot of d-line spots for us. It’s much more taxing for them and with that said from a receiver standpoint, we’re playing two receivers at times, three receivers at times and then four receivers at times. K.J. Myers is really doing a good job, other than that you can group the other guys together, and we’re going to keep evaluating to figure out who the next guy will be.
- On what Shawne Alston has shown in camp Leadership. He’s very physical and tough. He’s in shape and healthy. He’s really playing well. He doesn’t necessarily have the best parts in the world, so we need to protect his good man parts.
- On how Mike Leach has affected him I read his book in 30 minutes, so I knew everything there was to know about him. We go way back. From an organizational standpoint, the eight years I was with him, that’s what I took from him more than anything, how to organize your offense, how to organize your practice set, how you keep repping specific things. He’s a mastermind when it comes to organization, so I learned a lot of stuff about organization from him and when I broke off I put my own spin on it. We go way back, we are close friends and keep in touch. It’s good that he’s back in the game, it’s good for college football that he’s in the game.
- On how he thinks Leach will do at Washington State It’s a lot like Lubbock. It’s isolated and a little bit of a challenge to recruit. The competition is hard, but he’s use to winning a whole lot of games in that situation. It’s pretty much the same situation as Texas Tech.
- On whether Leach and Holgorsen trade plays We trade notes all of the time. He was here and sat out there and looked at my scripts and my papers. Half of it made sense to him and half of it didn’t, and he stuck it in his back pocket. I don’t know if he likes it or not.
- On what the defense has been doing well They’re having fun. Offensively, we have a lot of the guys back, and it’s not about who wins the drill. We’re trying to make them better, and they’re trying different things and trying to improve their stuff to make the offense better. It’s called a competition and amongst the offense and defense it’s competitive, but what you look for is guys trading blows and then after the drill everybody comes together and is excited about being out there. I’ve been at some practices where its quiet and everybody acts like they don’t want to be out there. It seems to me that these guys want to be out there and like to play and like to practice. It makes it enjoyable to coach them and makes it enjoyable to get a whole bunch of stuff on tape so we can watch it.
- On whether it helps the competition that so many of the freshmen are still battling The No.1 motivational factor for anybody ever is competition. It’s either yours or somebody is going to take it from you. The more competition that can exist amongst the specific positions, the more you’re going to get out of it, the more effort you’re going to get out of it, the more focus and the more want.