Football: Dana Holgorsen/Jeff Casteel Quotes
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - West Virginia University football offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel quotes from Saturday’s spring practice.
Offensive Coordinator Dana Holgorsen
On what you see three days in—likes and dislikes:
A lot of mistakes. The thing I like more than anything is the tempo and the effort that these guys are playing with. You can’t really tell until you get them out here and actually play, but for the most part the effort has been really good and they’re a lot of tough guys.
On Paul Millard having a handle on the quarterback position, unlike most from high school:
Paul is a smart kid, and he played in an offense like this, so he understands a lot of the concepts, but we’re playing at a very fast rate. I’m force feeding him, but I’m force feeding Geno (Smith) too. They stare a hole through me sometimes, because they don’t get it, and that’s what they are supposed to do. If they get it they turn, and if they don’t get it they stare at me, and that bothers me at times. We’re teaching them and he does understand it.
On Geno Smith picking up the offense:
You can tell he’s played more and has experience. His body language is great, he bounces around and he’s a leader, but his head is cloudy too. As each practice goes on, they’re going to get it a little bit more. You can tell from even the beginning of practice to the end of practice that they work at a little better rate.
The list of what’s important for a quarterback:
I don’t care about arm strength, that’s about No. 9 on the list. Intelligence, football knowledge, work ethic in the classroom and the film room, feet are good, quick release is good, having the ability to work and feel the pocket is good—all of that stuff is more important than true arm strength.
On what you’re seeing out of Tavon Austin and the development in this offense:
We’re not having anybody play two positions. I don’t even want anyone playing inside and outside receiver, because it defeats the purpose of being able to get your skills really good at what you’re doing. He is settled at inside receiver, and I think that’s where he belongs. We will get him good at that and try to get him good at being a return guy.
On Tyler Urban playing a bigger role in the offense this year:
He catches the ball well. Everybody, well it depends on where you’ve been, but everyone around here views slot receivers as the Tavon-kind of guys and the Jock Sanders-kind of guys, but I’ve used tight ends as slot receivers before. Body types don’t matter. It’s getting in the right spot and being able to catch the ball in traffic. Having the bigger bodies that can block linebackers is also very important.
On the offensive line and two guys out:
I have (paid attention to the offensive line) as a unit, not as a division. That is coach (Bill) Bedenbaugh’s job right now. We’ll sit there and discuss that as time goes on, but what I’ve noticed is these guys are targeted correctly up front. It doesn’t mean their technique is good, or they’re whipping anybody, but their targeted right. They are going where they are supposed to go and their communication has improved. We haven’t false started too much, which this is a new cadence from what they’re used to, so the fact that they’re sitting in there and being targeted right is step one. Now we have to get really good at what their technique is and try to whip somebody.
On how this year is different from last year three days into spring practice:
The way we went on in here is the way we would’ve run things out there. We have a lot of young guys, so it’s the third day of teaching. The kids’ effort is good, they’re communicating well, and we’re where you usually are when it’s the third day of spring ball. Whether it be last year’s group, or the year before, it’s about the same. I think the kids are doing a good job.
On facing a new offensive system:
We teach from a different standpoint from what we’re seeing, whether it’s this year’s offense or last years. We start from a two back principle and teach from there. We’re not really concerned with what we’re facing, even though that gives the kids a little bit of an issue at times. We have a progression in our teaching that we’ve been doing for eight or nine years and we use that progression.
On team defense, not necessarily results of an individual play:
We’re teaching concepts and putting in the defense in steps with kids, so that’s all we’re concerned with. We want to make sure they are getting aligned properly, and want to make sure they are communicating properly. Those are the things we’re looking at and seeing how they’re playing downhill to people and covering the right route. We want to make sure we can execute the defense we have going.
On having such a young team:
We’re taking baby steps. We really haven’t changed our teaching and the way that we teach it, but maybe have to go a little slower in terms of the kids. You can say something to them, and they already know it and can move on to the next point, but some of these guys are still learning the basics. They are right where they should be at this point in the spring. We just have to keep trying to get better every day, and that’s what we’re trying to do. They have to get reps, see it—watch the film and get corrected on mistakes to move on.
On the play of linebacker Josh Francis:
He’s quick, and he’s an aggressive kid. He’s a thumper with great explosiveness. At times we may have to slow him down a bit, but he’s done some things in these first few days that we thought he was capable of.
On what you want some of the newcomers and freshmen to get out of spring ball:
I hope they understand the defense--that’s all we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get the kids to understand how to play, and how we want them to play.
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