Football: Coach Dana Holgorsen Press Conference
Coach Dana Holgorsen
News Conference No. 10
You get into a routine, and you are kind of saying the same things every day. Today was day 13. The last two days have been really good. Defensively, yesterday in particular, maybe it had something to do with the weather, but they were really flying around and making plays. They had a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Offensively we didn’t match that yesterday, but we did a better job of matching that today. The main thing is we have really progressed in the last two days.
On defensive players that stood out…
I am not going to say they surprised me. We have some good players over there. We have some good returning players. Najee Goode is a good player that is smart and is a leader. He is a senior that has been doing a good job. Keith Tandy came up with a couple good picks. They were in the red zone area, which is an area that is a cardinal sin to turn the ball over in, but Geno threw both of those picks. He is pretty reliable because you know what you are getting with him. Bruce Irvin is playing well and Jorge Wright stood out yesterday. Terrence Garvin is a guy that is always around the ball. We have some guys that are good over there, and we are just filling in the holes. Those guys need to continue to gain leadership, and the rest of them need to mesh together as a unit.
On defensive depth…
We are finding some depth. Will Clarke comes to mind. He is really playing better. Of course, you can’t ask coach Kirelawich, because he isn’t going to say anything good about them anyways. Shaq has a long way to go, but he is a big body. Julian is still day-to-day. He will be a big piece to the puzzle that we are missing right now. We are never as deep as we want to be along the defensive line, but it is better than we were in the spring.
John Bassler had a stinger and a concussion. He went to the hospital yesterday. The training staff and everyone made sure it got checked. You know how concussions are – you have to evaluate day-to-day. Other than that, everything is the same.
On appreciating the 3-3-5 stack…
It is different. I will be calling plays and cheering for the defense at the same time. You have to balance that. A lot of times, I will step away and let Shannon and Jake call plays, and I will step into the defensive huddle. Is it different? Yes, it is. Before, I never use to care about them whatsoever. I use to do everything I could to beat them, but now, it is a little different.
On being in the huddle…
I don’t get into the offensive huddle. Offensively, I stay as far away as I can. I don’t want Geno to have the comfort of asking me a question in the huddle. Defensively, I get in there because I don’t know what the heck they are talking about anyway. They can be talking about a call, and I don’t know what it means. I just get in there and mess around with them a little bit, whether it is encouraging them or giving them crap. That is part of getting to know them a little bit better.
On defensive improvement…
Energy makes that statement more than anything. You have to play with an edge to be good on defense. There were plenty of missed assignments yesterday. Jeff Casteel is still talking that they aren’t getting to the ball fast enough or as much as he wants them to. We haven’t got our starters yet. From a schematic standpoint, they are still making mistakes. From a running to the ball, they are still not where they want to be. From an energy and excitement level, the bar was higher yesterday than I had seen it. I kidded around with them this afternoon that I didn’t think they could do it two days in a row. Their energy and excitement wasn’t as high as yesterday, but you just try to keep coaching them where they do it every day.
On Quarterbacks Coach Jake Spavital…
It started out with him being a hell of driver. From there, it progressed into him being a pretty good coach. His brother, Zach, is a real good friend of mine, who was with me in Houston. He told me that Jake wanted to come down to Houston. Their dad is a very, very, very successful coach in Tulsa, Okla., at one of the biggest high schools in Oklahoma. His grandfather was in the CFL and the NFL. He has been around it forever. He coaches those guys hard, and worked with Cliff Kingsbury, who is a good friend of mine and a great quarterback coach. He was under him for a year. He learned the schematic stuff from me, and how I script and call plays. He did that with me going on three years now. He is a former college quarterback. To answer your question, I knew pretty quick. He is just young, and he has paid his dues.
On Spavital’s style…
He is just competent. I will be trying to get a script together, and he is already has three-quarters of it put together. It is a lot of the same lines of how I got hired at Texas Tech. I did that stuff for Mike Leach for three years, and when he got his job, he hired me. That is how this profession works, you have guys underneath you that know how you work. Shannon is the same way. We bounce ideas off each other. Everybody in this profession needs to have somebody that they are connected to in order to get hired.
On hiring Spavital and the staff…
He probably knew. A lot of things can happen. Maybe I will fire him. I don’t know. All these coaches are doing fine. Looking back three months ago where we were at, this staff is pretty united. We have gotten to know each other pretty well both offensively and defensively. We also had to split things up on special teams. I couldn’t be any happier with how everyone is meshing. If we can keep that up and get the players on the same page, then we can probably win a lot of games.
On the meshing of the coaching staff …
Like I just said, I couldn’t be any happier with the staff. We are all focused and on the same page. We are trying to win that first game. Anytime there are different coordinators or staff members that haven’t worked together, there is a bit of a transition time to see how everyone works. It is no different than how Dave Kerns and the training department are feeling me out. Mike Joseph and the strength department are feeling me out. It is all part of the process. It works both ways. They have to trust me and I have to trust them. We are 13 practices into it, and we have 15 more. We have to game plan together, then play a game together, then get over a game together and move onto the next game. This is year one of hopefully a lot of years working together and winning a lot of games together.
On charity donations to the WVU library for touchdowns…
It is just about being on campus more than anything. It is part of the job description so to speak. I wanted to help WVU, not only in the athletic department, but also the campus. I would think so, that is probably the only reason we want to score. I don’t need any more incentive than that.
On a new quarterback…
Michael Burchett transferred in from Kentucky today. He had a really good, successful career in high school. We glanced at his tape from high school. He actually contacted us. We are double, triple, and quadruple checking with the compliance department about him. He is a non-recruited walk-on that should be an exception to the transfer rule. He gives us another arm. He is a very good student. He is going to go into our engineering department, which is another reason for the move. We are good with quarterbacks, unless we fire one. If they start throwing a bunch of incompletions we would fire them – just for the period, not forever.
On the right tackle position…
Pat Eger is playing better. That competition is far from over. He has moved ahead of Quinton Spain. We will continue to work on and evaluate that.
On when he wants competitions settled…
I would like to have it settled tomorrow. The sooner you make those decisions the better. They naturally work themselves out. The running back thing is still going. A guy will have a good day then a bad day. It just takes time to see who figures it out. You just have to keep evaluating. It may be even after the Marshall game before we figure things out.
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