Football: Coach Holgorsen Teleconference
West Virginia University
Dana Holgorsen News Conference
October 2, 2011
On problems getting team ready for Connecticut
We’ll be ready. We had a good practice tonight. I spent two hours watching that game from last year to get myself familiar with how the game went and the personnel.
After practice tonight we talked about what happened last year and this being the second part of the season which is conference play. I anticipate that our guys will have a good week.
On if he is convinced that the running game has arrived
I’m never going to feel like we arrived anywhere. That’s not how we coach around here and when you think you have figured things out, you’ll get humbled pretty quickly. We’re happy with the performance, but we’ve closed the book on Bowling Green and we’re not going to ever revisit it.
Tonight was all about Connecticut and what we have to do to schematically figure out how to be successful on all three sides of the ball.
On the punting game
We worked on not shanking the ball tonight. That’s an open competition and Matt Molinari will get some reps to see if he can do better than what Corey (Smith) did.
On whether Tyler Bitancurt can punt
That’s tough to do all three - there aren’t many guys who can do it. Tyler is doing a good job and he was our special teams player of the week. He’s been solid and consistent. We had no issues whatsoever putting him on the kickoff team. He’s been doing that in practice all year, but the kickoff swing and the field goal swing are similar; the punt swing is completely different.
We’re not going to do that at this point.
On the packed game schedule without bye week
I’m used to it. I’ve had seasons where we go 12 straight weeks. You can use the off week as an advantage for healing up, but we’re not very unhealthy right now. It’s a matter of routine and let’s treat this week the same way we did last week. Guys are use to it, and it should be a good week.
On the defense after watching Bowling Green tape
We made plays and got turnovers. We had five turnovers which is huge. We put the ball on the ground too much offensively, I think it was four times. Defensively, we made plays. Making plays on the ball is important. We had some batted down balls, we had some sacks, we had some interceptions, we had a couple of guys strip balls out. Eain Smith did one and Bruce Irvin did one. The tackling has been relatively good and schematically we know what we’re doing. It’s about getting everyone on the same page because we have seven new starters.
On different people on kickoff coverage
There were a total of about 20 new faces on the kickoff team. We were firing people left and right, trying new people, firing and re-hiring, replacing and moving people around. That’s been something that we’ve been doing, but we did it through the course of the game because we had a lot of opportunities. In one sense, there is nothing like live work on that unit which you can’t get in practice. Due to the fact that we had a lot of reps at it, we had a chance to get 23, 24 or 25 guys in the game at that one particular unit.
On narrowing down to a kickoff coverage team of 11
It’s probably the same 22. We made some changes. We worked on it a little bit tonight at three-quarters speed. We’ll work it again Tuesday and Thursday, but there will more than likely be new faces on it.
On building off of Bowling Green
We don’t want to hit our peak right now. In order to win a championship you need to get better every week. You take the stuff you did good and build on it. It can be the same things from game to game, but you take what happened yesterday and try to build on it and change it and then refocus on the task at hand which is Connecticut.
On what he can gather watching Connecticut film when they have a new coaching staff
Just about how the game happened. I wanted to familiarize myself with what they went through last year. We played really well defensively against them and offensively we didn’t play terrible, we just turned it over four times. It ended up being the difference in the game. It’s an important game, it’s a conference game and our guys will be motivated because we lost to them last year and didn’t go to a BCS game because of it. I typically do that not for schemes, but personnel and how they stack up against our guys.
On what he finds on film throughout the season
We’re trying to put the best guys out there on all three sides of the ball at specific situations which allow us to be as good as we can be. Whether that’s how much the backup receivers have to play, obviously the running back thing has been a constant issue and kickoff team has been a constant issue. Defensively, finding guys to rush the passer has been a deal. It’s about finding ways to make your team better and the more you play the smaller those items should be. You should feel good about a lot of areas and keep trying to work the kinks out of the ones giving you problems.
On whether the Connecticut game is bigger than the Bowling Green game
Not for us as a staff. For the kids and fan base it probably is. I would anticipate a bigger crowd and a little rowdier crowd, unlike what we had last week. You guys in the media probably treat it different. As a coaching staff it’s about a routine and getting our guys ready to play. Last week we had some challenges to reach our kids due to the fact that we didn’t have to do much the week before. This past week we had to do quite a bit to reach our kids,and I assume it will swing back to the other side. We’re not going to have to do a whole lot to get them ready to play this week.
On reaching the kids before the Bowling Green game
We had to make them aware of who they’re playing. Bowling Green was a team that beat a lot of BCS conference schools, and we had to make them aware of who their opponent was. We came out a little flat, but due to the fact that we had a good week of preparation they were able to regroup, get our work done and finish it with a win.
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