Football: Select Player Quotes

  • By Tiffany Doolittle
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  • April 27, 2011 11:50 AM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia select football player quotes after Wednesday morning’s practice.

Quarterback Geno Smith
On playing better with an audience at the spring game
I think you should perform the same way every time. If fans are what motivates you, then so be it. I just want to win. That’s what motivates me.

On growth during spring practice
We’ve all grown. I’ve gotten better and been able to run the offense more smoothly and make some checks. It’s just important for me to have a good understanding of what Coach Holgorsen wants and what he requires of me as a quarterback, and as the leader of the offense. I’ve been getting better as a whole, with my footwork, better accuracy and getting more time for the receivers. I’ve just been working on everything.

On throwing interceptions
We just need to take better care of the ball. Sometimes we’re forcing the ball. As a quarterback, you want to make plays, but you never want to put the ball in the other team’s hands and you never want to put your team in a bad situation. We just have to be more focused on the little things and not forcing the ball.

Strong-side linebacker Najee Goode
On the defense breakthroughs
Our young guys have learned the basic things. Coach wants to make sure that if all else fails, we can run the basics and we did that this spring. We’re still adding on and there’s a lot of stuff that we can change up, as far as blitzes and everything like that. I think we’ve learned everything; it’s just a matter of getting better at it.

On being a leader for the defense
I think I did pretty well, but I still have a long ways to go, as far as playing great, while making everyone around me play great too. That’s what I’ve been trying to do. I have some guys that have been helping me out, like Keith (Tandy), Bruce (Irvin) and Julian (Miller), but I still have a ways to go.

On the defense compared to last year
We don’t have all eleven of us from last year, but we still have a good chunk and we have young guys stepping up. We could be just as good as last year; we just really have to work at it.

Starting inside receiver Stedman Bailey
On the new coaching staff
I was interested to see what this new offense had to offer. I heard they had done a lot of big things at Oklahoma State. I know we have just as good of guys as they had, so I think it could be a good thing for us.

On improving the offense
All of the guys fit into the offense pretty well. We’ve been executing, doing a lot of reps and shaping up really well. There’s always room for improvement, so as far as doing reps, we’ll still be doing the same thing. We’re working hard and if we work hard, we’ll make plays. That’s the key.

On improving himself
I plan on improving each part of my game--running routes, getting faster, ball security, being able to track the ball and everything like that. For the most part, it’s just a lot more running. I think we all have to be in better shape than we were last year. As far as my assignment, I still have to go out and make plays.

Inside receiver Tavon Austin
On his improvements so far
I feel more confident now that Coach Holgorsen and Coach Dawson have me in the right position. They always tell me what mistakes I’m making and I can tell it’s making me better. I think I’m doing way better on my route running. Stedman Bailey is still helping me with it, but I’m doing pretty well now.

On the Gold-Blue Game
I’m looking forward to the game and I have a lot of people coming up from home, so hopefully I’ll make a couple of plays. We’re finally going to get out there and hopefully we can get a couple good balls. If everyone gets a couple balls, then we can show everyone what we can do.

On the improvements on offense
We’re definitely not where we want to be yet. Coach Holgorsen is a straight up type of guy and he’s tells us that we’re not there as a unit. I think some individuals have got it, but not everybody. Right now we’re about 50/50.

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