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Football: Coach Dana Holgorsen Press Conference

By Brian Kuppelweiser for
August 13, 2011 08:37 PM
2011 Football Camp
Coach Dana Holgorsen
News Conference No.9

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - Practice number 10, so we are a third of the way there. I don’t know a whole lot more than I did yesterday. We got a whole lot of good work in today. We probably had 30 plays of controlled team period and 30 plays of situational work with referees. It was good work. I am happy with how it came out.

One thing that I have been excited about is the energy of the guys. As practices have gone on, their energy has been good, and if we can maintain that, we can get a lot better in the next two weeks. As the head coach, I am excited about that. The PAT/field goal team was really good. I think we were at 100 percent in the pre-practice stuff. I know everyone is excited to hear that.

On penalties during practice…
We were pretty good. I talked to the referees beforehand. I told them to call the pre-snap stuff. Within the play, I didn’t want them to stop the momentum because we can’t stay out there for an hour. They were to report to me if there was a holding or a pass interference. I think it was relatively clean. I have been pretty happy with the pre-snap stuff. Nothing irritates me more than a pre-snap penalty, whether it is a false start on offense or offside on defense. That is just mental stuff.

On Joe Madsen…
We didn’t watch a whole lot of anything prior to spring. He is a smart football player. He doesn’t have very long arms, which is ironic because that is one thing we normally look for in offensive lineman. He runs around out there like T-Rex sometimes. His snaps are good. You put the center in charge of making all the calls and pre-snap stuff. He has done well with that. With the nature of our defense, he is about to snap it and the other dude’s head is right here, which doesn’t faze him. He is used to doing it. He practiced against (Chris) Neild last year, and that guy is pretty good. He has played a lot of football. He is tough and has a quick first step and he blocks people.

On Joe Madsen’s academics…
As far as I know, yes. That has been an ongoing battle. He has given a lot of effort. I know he was ineligible for the bowl game, and we held him out of some of the workouts during the spring and a lot of the workouts during the summer. He has done a lot to overcome the hole that he was in. We are working with him, and he is working with us so we can get that rectified to where that doesn’t happen again.

On the offense…
There is a lot. It is very broad and the list would be very long. It is just such a process. Mistakes that happen one day get fixed, but then others appear. It is a constant battle. All through spring ball, it was a battle of just trying to get better. Hopefully, you go out and get better and better each week individually. It is too broad to talk about really. It is more just staying the course. I have talked to them a whole bunch about staying the course offensively and defensively. It is all the same, just keep playing hard. Their effort is good and their energy is good.

On the risk of monotony…
So far it has been good. You always deal with that a little bit in camp. You are going to get tired of practicing against each other. We do a lot of things within the boundaries of our schedule to keep their attention and motivated. Eventually, they are going to get tired of practicing with each other. After you start to get into game-planning mode, you start going against the scout team and start working on team chemistry.

On how he describes his offense…
No, I don’t know what you would call it. I have been asked that a bunch of times. I don’t know what you would call it – offense I guess. I don’t have a phrase. I don’t have a name for it. Here are the plays, here is how we practice, here is what we do it, let’s go get better. There is probably a little more to it than that.

On BIG EAST opponents…
You look at them week-by-week. I am not smart enough to hold all that information. We are not even worried about Marshall right now. We are getting a lot of different looks from our defense and then we go scout up some stuff. Obviously, some of the stuff that Marshall does are looks that we are getting. I am not going to sit there and obsess over Marshall for a month, and then switch gears to worrying about Norfolk State for a week, then Maryland for a week. There is a reason you only play one game a week. I am going to worry about us and getting better. About a week to a week-and-a-half before the Marshall game, we will start worrying about Marshall.

On position battles…
As people emerge, some will get taken care of quicker than others. If we feel good about it, we will start repping them as either first-team guys or second-team guys. If the position battles are up in the air, then they are just going to keep rolling until somebody asserts himself. It is going to be challenging, but that is why we hired Coach Gillespie. They all played well today and they all bring something different to the table. They all compete hard against each other.

On freshman development…
The two running backs have for sure. Those guys are good. (Andrew) Buie took about three to the house today. Dustin Garrison is a different type of runner. He is very patient and sees it, then squirts through there. He will have plays where he should have lost two and ends up gaining six. They complement each other very well. Vernard (Roberts) came back today and had some good, tough runs. Those two guys are struggling a little bit receiving. The linemen are struggling a little bit. Probably the two that are standing out the most are those two running backs.

On using young running backs…
The last three years we have had a true freshman that is either the guy or is one of the main guys. Running back is a position that is pretty easy to develop. It is probably the one position you can do that in.

On playing different opponents…
You never truly know. Before I went to Oklahoma State, I coached against Oklahoma State for 10 years. During the course of 10 years, they switched defensive coordinators probably three or four times. You had to do your best on how they lineup and how to attack it. If you were wrong, you had to adjust. Game two against Norfolk State, I really don’t care what they do right now. I will figure that out a week before we play them. Teams that I am real familiar with, I kind of have an idea of what they are going to do, but I am still going to prepare for them the same. I am going to watch a bunch of tape and see who the personnel is. I am going to look at their tendencies, but their defensive coordinator may have changed. You don’t truly know much until you get into the game.

Last year, when we played Oklahoma – you talk about a shock. I have known (Brent) Venables and Bob (Stoops) for about 10 or 11 years now. I have played against and coached against them for nine years. They have been a traditional four-down front for 10 years; I watched the tape and said that is the same stuff they have been doing for a long time. They are an area zone blitz team; every now and then they will bring safety down or bring everyone down and play man to man. They came out against us in a three-down front for the first time in their careers at Oklahoma. That is when you have to adjust and it took us about a quarter to adjust. We figured out what they were doing and attacked it. We were able to have some success. There is only so much defense you can play. With our system, I feel like you can figure out what they are doing and adjust how you attack it.

On teams doing unexpected things…
There really isn’t much you can throw at us that we aren’t expecting or haven’t seen. I mean, how many different fronts can you line up in, how many different coverages can you line up in, how many different blitzes can people do? It is just a matter of recognizing it and figuring out what they are doing. I like to think we have enough good coaches that we can figure that out while we are on the sidelines. During the 2002 Alamo Bowl, Iowa was something like 11-2, and they were really good. You can turn on their tape and see that they were very just as bland as you can possibly be. They were a 4-3, cover four team. That is all they did on every dang snap, and they whipped us. There are a whole bunch of good defenses out there, but it is all about what they believe in and what they can execute.

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