Football: Coach Holgorsen Press Conference
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen's press conference following the Aug. 10 practice.
The highlight of my day was Troy Vincent being here and talking to the team. That’s what he does for the NFL – he played for 12 years and played at Wisconsin. He works for the NFL. He goes around and teaches young men how to be young men. I think it’s good for all young guys to meet a guy like that.
On the highlight of today’s practice
That (the speaker) was a cool deal.
There’s very little difference between full pads and half pads. They may slow you down a tad, but they have to put them on, and they have to get used to them. It was probably a hair slow today, but they just have to get used to them. It’s part of the process.
On inviting more guest speakers to speak with the team
Yes (we will invite more). We have had a couple already. We had a comedian in here the other night. We had a congressman, too. We’ll probably have two or three more in the next week or two.
They (the student-athletes) get sick and tired of hearing me and the position coaches, so we bring guys in that have some street credibility and that can get through to all of them.
On the receivers’ ball security
It’s a never-ending problem. About the time that you think all of them have really good ball security, and you let things go and you go backwards and put the ball on the ground a little bit. If you come to any of our practices, you are going to hear it from every one of our offensives coaches – if they see the ball removed from their bodies at all, they are going to say something about it.
We have had the ball on the ground a couple of times. Defensively, it’s been a huge emphasis for us. We work on it at the end of practices. You see me congratulate a whole bunch of defensive guys when they get the ball out. It’s a combination – offensively, we need to keep that ball tight, and we yell at the guy that puts it on the ground, but then we quickly congratulate the guy that got it out. It’s a double-edged sword.
On whether he’d rather see the offense hold on to the ball or the defense rip it out
In a game, you aren’t playing each other, so you want both to happen. It’s one of those deals where you have to practice against each other all of the time. For a good team, you want one side to win for a little bit, then the other side to come back and win a little bit, and so forth. If you have a lot of that going on, then you’re probably going to be alright. If it’s a one-sided mess, then you’re probably not very good.
On the differences between practices in pads and shells
There is no difference. Even though we’re in full pads, we’re constantly yelling at them to stay up and practice well. You have to learn to practice together and take care of each other. If you’re doing a whole bunch of chop blocking, dragging people on the ground and leaving your feet to make a tackle, you are going to lose people.
One of the things we have been talking about since the first day of practice is taking care of each other. I don’t want a single guy on the ground the full practice. If we have a guy on the ground, then we aren’t doing our jobs. Shells, full pads, it doesn’t matter.
I made reference to it a few days ago – if you are in the NFL, and you’re on the ground, you’re going to get cut. You stay on your feet. That’s something we’re working on as a team.
On working special teams with contact
You can’t do special teams like you do offense and defense – you can’t go full speed. Special teams is all mental preparation and being in the right spot. You’re excited more than anything. It’s not full speed, state of the game stuff, but more how to lineup and what your assignment is.
What you’re seeing special-teams wise is going to change a bit. We’ll obviously do more or less on certain days, but we’ll always at least do what we did today.
On today’s blocked field goal
It’s been better (than spring). We coach the heck out of it on defense now. We aren’t happy with it, but over the three days we’ve had one block and one nip. Is that acceptable? No. Is it a little bit attributed to our defense being lined up well, going after it, hard coaching and coming off of the ball? We’re happy with how they are coaching them defensively, and offensively we need to keep working on it.
Our operation time is slightly slow right now, both the first and second group. We’ll speed that up.
On sorting out the kickers
We haven’t. There are only two. There’s competition, and we’ll continue to evaluate them. There isn’t a rush. The best way to get guys better is competition. We’ll let those guys keep competing, and we’ll figure it out here in another week or so.
On the running back competition
It was the same thing as yesterday. Those young guys are pretty good. Dustin Garrison is very patient and has good vision. He makes people miss in space. Andrew Buie is quick-twitched. He sticks his toe in the ground, and it’s full speed ahead. Both have good ball skills. Vernard Roberts is not backing down whatsoever. We gave him the ball a bunch, and he’s getting yards – he’s tough. He’s probably a tougher, more physical runner than the other two guys.
That all makes Trey (Johnson) play that much harder and motivates him. Shawne (Alston) is also a guy that we are going to find a way for him to play.
It’s going to be a fun competition to watch. We’re far from that thing being over.
On possibly moving a back to slot
It’s always a possibility. We want to get the best guys out there that we can, but they all came here to play running back. What I see out of them, from a running back standpoint, is something I’m excited about it.
Receiver play is a different story. Those guys are all incredibly inconsistent – all of them. A couple of them will have a good day and a couple of them will have a bad day.
The guy that stood out today was Ryan Nehlen. He had a good day. His granddad (coach Don Nehlen) needs to come to practice more. This was the first time coach Nehlen has been here, and he played good today.
The rest of them have been spotty. I don’t know how those guys can get worse from spring, but it looks to me like some of them have.
On the impact of Brad Starks’ deep-threat ability
He's not even in the equation right now. I’ve seen him practice twice, and I don’t have a comment on him.
On receivers’ moods once they begin to catch balls
They have to come to work every day. By the time they think they have it all figured out, and they’re living the good life, they relax and have a bad day. That’s not how this deal works. It’s about coming every day and being good every day. That is what plays into the whole consistency thing and what is discouraging us. They need to be more consistent.
The great ones are consistent. Justin Blackmon last year was the most consistent guy I had ever seen. It was every day. Every single day. A lot of these guys are young right now, and they don’t understand that. The one guy that probably does understand it is Ryan Nehlen. Tavon (Austin) has been good, but not as good as he can be. I think he has a lot of improving to do. Ryan Nehlen gives it everything he’s got, and it’s the same thing every day.
On offensive balance
We pay attention to it within a game, as far as who’s touching the ball and have we done a good enough job of spreading the ball around to specific people.
Going into a game, I don’t check it every quarter and make sure we run it 50 percent of the time and throw it 50 percent of the time – that makes no difference to me. It’s about what works and you keep calling it.
Going in, my play-call sheet looks like a collection of what we feel like we want to run from a game-plan standpoint, but you can never predict the outcome of a game from a play-call standpoint due to the fact that your play-calls can change due to how the game’s going. I don’t pay attention to it much during the game.
On if he saw any changes today with the offensive line
No. It’s a process. We aren’t going to get anything figured out overnight. I told them all after practice – you guys have really good coaches, and you need to listen to them. Those guys know how it should look, and your job is to come in here and watch film and go out there and get better every day. If they do that, then in three weeks we may be in a position to win, if they do that. It’s a process.
Harrison Musgrave strikes out 14 in TCU victory
Around the Horn with Randy Mazey
TCU Postgame: Randy Mazey
TCU Postgame: Randy Mazey
Around the Horn With Randy Mazey
Randy Mazey Teleconference