Football: Coach Stewart, Select Player Quotes
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - WVU coach Bill Stewart and select players provide comments following Friday morning's scrimmage at Milan-Puskar Stadium.
Coach Bill Stewart
On today’s scrimmage
What I liked most about today’s scrimmage, and it was a good one, is that we brought our pads. We really brought our pads. There was some great, sharp, crisp hitting. I never doubted that they would come out and practice hard. It was very much a workman-like fashion, and I’m pleased with how the pads banged out there. It was good to see and that’s what I liked most. There was great enthusiasm, the guys played hard and it was fun to watch. What I didn’t like? I do not like penalties. You’re going to have a hold, you’re going to have a pass interference, but if you line up offsides as a defensive lineman or jump early as an offensive lineman or don’t have your feet set as a wide receiver, those things just can’t happen.
On the kicking game
It was unusual for Tyler Bitancurt to have some of the misses he had. We just need to continue to practice, pay attention to details and do a better job blocking.
On the defense
After 12 days of seeing each other in practice, the guys have a better feel of the moves that the offensive players are going to put on them. I’m very pleased with the relentless effort from the defensive front. I thought the linebackers did a good job of breaking on the ball. Najee (Goode) had a pick today. Open-field tackling still concerns me, but I really liked how our young corners, especially (Avery) Williams, are playing out there. The pick they returned for a touchdown was good to see. That was good Mountaineer defense. There were some big plays. Our defensive line continually puts pressure on Geno (Smith) and the backs.
On the progress of the offensive players
Tyler Urban made some good catches, Ryan Nehlen had some good catches. Tavon Austin wasn’t stopped. Stedman Bailey also had some good plays. That is always special to see. I really liked how (Vance) Roberts and (Trey) Johnson ran today. I thought that they played hard and that they’re competing.
On the defense getting the offense out of rhythm
When the offense did make plays, I was pleased with how the defense came right back at them. On the goal line, they did a nice job all morning.
On Julian Miller
He’s special. He and Bruce Irvin just bring it and bring it and bring it. Their relentless pressure today was really neat to see. Jorge Wright continues to step up, and Josh Taylor also had a nice day.
On Terence Garvin
He’s a quiet leader; he’s not a very loud young man. All he does is make plays with his pads and he always has a smile on his face. He’s fun to be around. He’s a silent leader like Keith Tandy. He’s having a pretty good spring – he’s gotten bigger, stronger and is making better open-field tackles than he did a year ago. That’s a tribute to how he’s practiced. You can’t go out and scrimmage every day because you’ll run out of bodies, but I’m pleased with how he’s disguising himself and making plays. Keith Tandy and Terence are going to be key figures in our secondary. Travis Bell, Darwin Cook and others are growing up and maturing in the defense.
On what the team will work on this week before the spring game
We’ll keep going hard at practice. We’re going to install our kick return and work on special teams a bit. If we continue to catch the ball, we’re going to get better and better. I liked our screens we were setting up. It was good to see that today, and we’ll continue to work on them. The spring game will be like practice No. 15. The guys will go out and play hard, but we also need to protect them. You only have so many guys to play with and can’t lose them all to injury. It’s been a good spring. It really has. I’ve seen a lot of growth, I’ve seen the offense grasping what we’re trying to do and there’s been much, much progress. Defensively, we’re making big plays and flying around. Our biggest thing is that we have to know our two-deep; once we figure that out, we’ll be in good shape for the season.
Inside receiver Tavon Austin
On what the offense needs to improve on
We missed a lot of blocks today and we had too many penalties. We had a lot of holding penalties from both the line and the receivers, so hopefully we’ll get our hands inside and do a better job.
On the offense's improvements from last week’s scrimmage
First of all, we didn’t turn the ball over. Last time, we had four fumbles and I dropped ball twice myself. We limited our turnovers, so that’s a big improvement.
On his comfort with the new offense
This is my second year in the slot position, so I’m getting a better handle of it, but I still have a lot to improve. I’m still learning the plays and what I’m supposed to do when the ball is coming to me and my blocking assignments for when it’s not.
Defensive back Terence Garvin
On the progress of the defense
A lot of the new guys are still learning the defense, and we’re all working on being more aggressive. We’re learning the coverages, the blitzes and the basics of the defense.
On double-teaming and defensive duties
If one guy is being double-teamed, then it should open up a hole for another guy to make a play. It happened today once that one guy was being doubled, so I had to step up and make a play.
On creating turnovers
We’re trying to force them. Every practice we work on stripping the ball and picking off passes headed our way.
Defensive lineman Julian Miller
On the aggression of the defensive line
We’re all out there trying to compete and do our best job of keeping to our assignments and getting to the quarterback.
On playing tighter against the run
The offense is mostly a passing offense, and they got us a few times today running inside, so we definitely need to work on that.
On the running backs
I’m impressed with No. 9, Vance Roberts. He’s running the ball with confidence and he’s impressed me a lot. All the guys are out there doing their thing. From my point of view, it’s an open race to see who will be our starting guy back there.
On how the defense did today
Everyone was getting after it and being aggressive. We have pursuit drills we do every day at practice, probably the toughest drill that we have, and it helps us out a lot. Everyone’s getting to the ball and knowing where they need to be. We need to work on getting more turnovers and popping the ball loose. We’re getting better, though.
On improving tackling
It’s something we work on every day, but in terms of effort and getting to the ball, we’re there. We need to wrap up and keep our heads up when we tackle. We’re working on technique and good-form tackling.
Running back Matt Lindamood
On the coaches recognizing hard work and effort from the team
It’s good to see when you put the effort in and it pays off. We haven’t suited up and played other teams, but knowing that the effort’s there and we’re doing our best, we know good things will happen come the fall.
On his position as a fullback in the new offense
I was wondering at first what I would be doing in the new offense. God has a plan for us, and He played it all out well, and if you give your best effort, you just accept what comes your way. This is a physical,physical offense, and I love it. You can ask anyone in the locker room – we all love it. That’s the name of this offense. We’re going to be physical and play fast. They’ve set us up to play successfully and play hard. If we play fast and physical, then everything else will click.
On the diamond offense
That’s the fun part for us – playing smash-mouth football there on the goal line. That’s what I love most. Hands-down, it’s my favorite formation. I watched Oklahoma State’s bowl game last year and saw when they would use one fullback, but didn’t see when they had two in. I was very surprised when I saw it, but I was pleased. Coach Holgorsen is giving us a shot, and we need to go in and do our best job.
Harrison Musgrave strikes out 14 in TCU victory
Around the Horn with Randy Mazey
TCU Postgame: Randy Mazey
TCU Postgame: Randy Mazey
Around the Horn With Randy Mazey
Randy Mazey Teleconference