Football: WVU Football Player Interviews
Morgantown, W.Va. - West Virginia University football players discuss the opening of their spring season.
Quarterback Geno Smith
On coming in to spring ball with more offensive experience
I feel much more seasoned - I'm not trying to figure things out like I was last spring. I have a better understanding of the offense, and I can teach the younger guys a little bit more than I was able to in the past. Overall, I think I'm doing a great job at making my reads, progressions, timing and footwork. I'm making sure I understand what I have to do as a leader, and I'm making sure the offense runs at a good tempo.
On the difference between this year and last year
The mood has changed over time - which I think is good. I'm not going to say that coach Stewart had us moving in the wrong direction because we were still good, but coach Holgorsen has us believing a little bit more, and we all have a bit more confidence in ourselves. We're taking advantage of every chance we get out there on the field.
On having the ability to do more offensively this early in the season
The guys we had come in as freshmen did a good job (getting) it. As veterans, we have carried over what we did in the Orange Bowl and what we did last season, and we're making sure we're not satisfied with it.
Offensive Lineman Josh Jenkins
On being injured last season
I did work hard, and I worked with the coaches to determine what I can or cannot do. I'm not limited at all.
On picking up things from Jeff Braun and Joe Madsen last year that he can take into this spring
I got experience in the games, and I've been here for awhile - I'm an old man now. They just got done with these plays, so I've watched their hand placements. Jeff Braun has been helping me out with the plays, and joe Madsen has been telling me what I need to do on some plays, so it's definitely helping me now.
On how his injury has affected his appreciation for the game
You never know when your last snap is. Mine could have been last spring, so it definitely made me have more appreciation for the game and enjoy this more - you only get to do this once in a lifetime.
On working through injuries for the second time
I got injured in the Rutgers game my freshman year. To get hurt is never easy. It's just a hard thing to go through, but I've been through it once so I knew I could go through it again.
On watching the Orange Bowl win
I was happy for my teammates, and I was still part of the team so I still felt proud, but it was tough not being able to play and not being able to contribute. Things happen for a reason, and luckily I'm back here again this year.
Defensive End Will Clarke
On being back in action after the Orange Bowl win
The whole team was really excited to pick up on things that we tried to polish at the end of last season. With playing these new teams, we just want to make sure that we're ready.
On stepping in for Bruce Irvin this year
Bruce helps critique some of the younger guys at practice. The coaches have never put an impression on me that I have to be like him because we're two totally different people - he's speed and power.
On the new scheme
For myself, the scheme is pretty similar; I was more of a field guy, but sometimes me, Julian and Bruce would switch. In this scheme, I'm more of an end and on the strong side of the field.
Linebacker Doug Rigg
On the time that's passed since the Orange Bowl
It's pretty crazy that we're starting practice again. It's my junior year, and I remember just starting as a freshman thinking that this is taking forever. Now I'm going into my second spring ball. We're about to start a new season and a new identity.
On what the Orange Bowl win does for practice
I think it sets standards for us. We had a lot of fun in Miami. We were on TV, and we felt like kings down there. (The goal of) winning a national championship sets our work ethic higher than it has been the past few years.
On the new defense
It's easier than the last defense I had to learn, but it's about getting out the stuff we learned in last year's defense and transitioning to this defense. A lot of times, I'm doing stuff that would be right in other defenses but it's wrong in this one.
On the terminology of the new defense
Some of the things we do just have a different name, and others that have the same name are actually totally different, so we just have to get the terminology and communication right.
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