April 13, 2010
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University football quotes from defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and selected players after Tuesday’s spring practice.
Coach Jeff Casteel
On coaching philosophy:
I’m always trying to learn from anybody that’ll teach me. The thing is, you get into coaching and you just try to get your players to play as well as they possibly can and hard as they can. The biggest compliment that you can have is that your guys play hard, and they go to work every time. Those are the things you try to instill in them. That’s what’s going to happen for them as they get out of here and move on to whatever it is they’re going to with their lives. They better learn that they’re going to have to work as we all have learned over the years.
On what makes J.T. Thomas special:
That’s a great question, and I don’t know that I can put it into words. This kid is very talented, number one. He works his tail off. He cares about his teammates. He cares about his team, and it’s important to him to do well and that his football team does well. I think that he’s really embraced that. He started doing that last year as a junior, getting himself into position where he can be a guy who can start taking over the defense – he and Chris Neild. I think it’s something he looks forward to, and I think that’s something he’s going to work hard to be very good at.
On offensive line’s goals for the spring:
Right now, we’re trying to get a good attitude and come to practice and work harder each day. Now, we have all the plays down. We know what we have to do. We’re experienced. We just have to go out there and work as five, making it as one person. We have to go out there and execute. We’re just trying to get better each day.
On how tough it is playing to the whistle with talented backfield:
As much as it is difficult, it’s also good. Sometimes I’m coming around a play that’s supposed to go to my side, and the next thing I know, the ball is on the other side. At the same time, it’s cool to get them [Noel Devine and Tavon Austin] out into free space because they’ll make you right off your block. If you’re blocking one side you’re not supposed to, they’ll cut up to the other side, so that makes you look good. They’re great players, so it’s always fun to play with them.
On what Sands is looking to work on this season:
Coming out of last season, I’m just looking to come out of my breaks faster, running with the ball after interceptions and just improving myself.
On improvement of the defense this spring:
I’m not happy with it, but it’s coming along. We still have a ways to go. We have to work on other things, like getting the ball out, causing more turnovers and getting all 11 hats to the ball. We have to be able to swarm better to the ball. Today, we did a good job of getting 3-4 hats to the ball. We have to continue doing that each practice.
On whom Thomas sees stepping up with the loss of Reed Williams:
At Mike (linebacker), Pat (Lazear) is and Anthony (Leonard) at the Sam (linebacker position). Seeing them switch roles is funny, but it seems to be working out for the best. I think that was a good experiment by the coaches.
On adjusting to game speed:
People are getting back in shape from spring break, and we got a lot more effort out of guys today. We had to get on them this past Saturday to get guys going to in the right direction. Today was an improvement, but we definitely have a long way to go.