Football: Coach Holgorsen Press Conference

  • By Daniel Whitehead
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  • August 18, 2011 09:41 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen's news conference following the Aug. 18 practice.

2011 Football Camp
Coach Dana Holgorsen
News Conference No. 11

Opening Statement
We’ve got 16 practices in, so we’re getting closer. As position battles unfold, I’ll keep you up-to-date with them. Tyler Bitancurt will be our kicker, which we had a competition for. It was pretty clear-cut. He’s kicking the ball well. I told Corey (Smith) to quit acting like a kicker and to start focusing on being a punter. Hopefully that will help him. He hasn’t been punting poorly, but if he focuses on that, hopefully we’ll get a little better.

Our first-team punt hasn’t been blocked in over a week, so that’s good news. Corey’s kicking at about 90 percent, so he’s doing really well. Punt-team wise, we’re getting better, but still have a ways to go. Obviously, we don’t want to punt very much, but we need to do what we’ve got to do when we get out there. Coach (Steve) Dunlap is doing a really nice job of honing in on what we’re doing, and he’s kept a lot of the schemes you’ve already seen. We’ve tightened it up a bit, and we’ll be in good shape there.

The team was dragging a little bit, but that’s normal for this part of camp. If that doesn’t happen everywhere across the country, then somebody’s lying to you. That’s when you’ve got to challenge them and talk about pushing through it. You’ve got to have leaders that get people to push through it. I feel like were going in the right direction. Toward the end of practice, the energy picked up, and we got ourselves in some situations when we looked good on the field, and we looked bad on the field.

On any injury updates…
It’s still the same. (John) Bassler is still out from the concussion a few days ago. Julian Miller is still day-to-day with his ankle injury. Darwin Cook came back, and he’s looking good. He’s a starter; we’ve been missing that. He brought some hop, so it’s good to have him back. Otherwise, it’s just the nagging stuff. Nothing new.

On Julian Miller’s injury…
It shouldn’t be significant. He’s got a lot of experience, so it’s not like we don’t know what he does. We’re not going to rush him back to the point that he re-injures it. His lower limb is not functional right now, so we’re not sticking him out there yet to push through it. He’s an older guy that knows the defense, and he’s been in it for three years, so we’re going to make sure he’s ready before we stick him out there. He’ll be back soon, though.

On Brad Starks’ status…
He’s getting good at riding the bike. I coach them when they’re out on the field.

On when Marshall preparations will begin…
We’ll start unofficially next week. We haven’t started yet. Watching Coach Casteel, he does his installations the same way, so we’re on the same page. A lot of people make the mistake of killing the first opponent and spend most of camp only talking about one opponent, which may or may not help you beat that opponent. When the next opponent shows up, you’re a little out of whack, because you don’t have much time to prepare for them.

That’s the way we’ve always done it. We just worry about ourselves and get better. School starts next week, so we’ll back off a bit so they can be students for the majority of the day. That gives us coaches some time to start filing away on film. We’ll start taking some looks next week, but game week is game week. That following week, the fourth week of camp, we’ll treat it like a true game week.

On what he hopes to get out of Saturday’s scrimmage…
It’s all situational stuff. We’ve been practicing situations, and we’ll practice some more situations on Saturday. It’s more football – it’s more snaps. We’ll practice a bit and get some individual work in. Tomorrow afternoon, we’ll take some snaps and then Saturday we’ll take some more snaps to the point we can get a better look at the film. Next week, we switch gears a little bit.

On typical game week preparations…
We’ll bring them in at about 3 p.m., on Sundays and have team and special team meetings, which can last anywhere from five minutes to 50 minutes. On game weeks, that will be a bit longer. We like to lift them really hard on Sundays and have short practices Sunday night. We got out and run them and make some corrections. I’m a firm believer in getting the thing over with. Whether something good happens or something bad happens, you have to get it over with. Sunday night practices are for closure.

Sunday nights and Mondays, we’re about watching film and getting ready, then letting them be student-athletes. I want them to study. We go hard on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, maybe back off a little on Wednesday, but then Thursdays are helmets-only and then just a walk-through on Fridays.

On the wide receivers’ two-deep…
We’re getting closer. Stedman (Bailey) has been playing really, really well. Tavon (Austin) has been playing well. Devon Brown and Tyler Urban have different styles, but they’re a solid 1-2 there. Ryan (Nehlen) and Ivan McCartney have been battling back and forth. That’s been one of the better ones to watch. Ivan’s been inconsistent for a year, but he’s grown up and is starting to become more consistent. I didn’t say he’s a player yet, but he’s becoming more consistent. We’re looking for a solid number two on the other side.

On what Devon Brown brings to the team…
He’s more along the line of Tavon (Austin) and Jock Sanders last year. He’s got game experience and a great attitude. You talk about a kid that’s happy to be here playing in this type of offense and making the most of it. I’ve coached a bunch of seniors that this is their last go-round, and you get a lot out of them. I had a guy last year at Oklahoma State that sat out his senior year, then came back as a fifth-year and made the most of it. Guys that come back for a fifth year, you generally get a lot out of them.

On Saturday’s scrimmage determining the depth chart…
It could. There are some guys that have started to separate themselves the more they play. It could, but you also realize that guys have bad days. Ryan Clarke has really come on, talking about a guy who had a few bad days early on. The lights came on with him. He’s loving his role and playing hard. That stuff happens; you never know at what point of camp it will, but it happens. You’d like everything to happen right now so we could determine our two-deep and know how many reps No. 1 will get and how many No. 2 will get, but the more you practice, the more that changes.

On Ryan Clarke’s role…
He’s a football player. He’s not getting the ball. He could because he’s carried the ball around here a lot, but with the system we’ve got right now, we’d rather have guys who are space players. That’s what his role is right now. If that changes, then it changes. He’s getting in there and helping the team as much as he can from a blocking standpoint and he’s doing well.

On the ball carrier for a 4th-and-1 on the goal line…
It will be between Andrew Buie, Dustin Garrison, Vernard Roberts and Trey Johnson.

On the importance of living up to the offense’s reputation…
The media may want to emphasize who’s leading the nation in passing yards or who’s leading the nation in points, but we don’t talk about that. I haven’t in three years. We talk about positive plays, not negative plays. This is the offense and defense, because it relates to the defense as well. It’s not about the stats; it’s about staying on the field on third downs, it’s about creating turnovers defensively, it’s about not turning the ball over, it’s about getting the opponent off the field on third downs. You have to score in the red zone. Defensively, we hold them to field goals in the red zone. That’s all the stuff that counts. That’s what we’re talking about. If it’s not as exciting as people wish, but we win, and we’re happy what we do situationally, then people will have to get over it.

On the kickoff team…
Right now, Tyler Bitancurt can’t pop it. We’ve got a couple guys coming in Monday for the tryout, and we’ll see how they do. The kickoff guy is one we haven’t settled on yet.

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