Football: Coordinators' Quotes
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University football offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel quotes from the April 25 spring practice.
Offensive Coordinator Dana Holgorsen
On the two-minute offense
Just like everything else we’re doing in practice, there were a couple of things that were alright. There were a lot of things we didn’t do well. We’re still learning the same things, just in a faster mode. We do a lot of things up tempo anyways, so it’s not a huge adjustment for the guys. It’s just getting stuff on tape. That helps these guys understand the situations. They need to know when to get out of bounds, when to try to get as many yards as they can and when to speed things up from a communications standpoint.
It’s the same thing as always – get it on film, learn, talk about it and try to get better the next time we come out.
Ball security has been good throughout the spring. I think we’ve only fumbled a couple of times all spring. We’re throwing way too many interceptions. That’s the biggest concern right now, but that’s a combination of the quarterbacks understanding when not to force it, protection and getting guys in the right spot. You can’t just sit there and yell at the quarterback because he threw an interception. It’s more about the whole scheme of things. You need everyone to work on the same page to make sure it looks OK. We just have to get better at that.
On seeing more consistency from wide receiver J.D. Woods
No, I haven’t.
On the play of wide receiver Ryan Nehlen
I’ve been very happy with him. Ryan’s been doing a real good job. The problem with Ryan is he’s never here – he takes a lot of classes. He’s only here for about 30 minutes on week days, and then we get him on the weekends. He’s been incredibly consistent, one of our more consistent guys since Brad (Starks) got injured.
On not huddling
We start every series in a huddle. We’ve been talking about how much we need to huddle, but we need to get comfortable at something, and right now we’re more comfortable when we don’t huddle and play up-tempo. The two times we did the two-minute drill, we got things going a little bit and they seemed to be comfortable with no-huddle. (Quarterback) Paul Millard did it in high school, and so did (quarterback) Geno (Smith), and I think it’s something they’re comfortable with.
One of the problems we had in the scrimmage on Friday was that we had a hard time getting things going, and a lot of that has to do with our defense being better than we are right now. We’d get it going a bit, and then we’d go backwards and stall out. We have to continue to get to the point where we can get these guys in a rhythm.
On the kick-game struggles
It’s an easy fix. I can’t say it’s an easy fix for the guy that needs to make sure the ball goes through the uprights, but some of the block issues we’ve already addressed and we’ll make sure they get fixed. That’s the easy part. The hard part is making sure the guy kicks it through the uprights, and I haven’t really been paying much attention to it. We’ll keep working on it.
On the offensive depth chart
It will go well into camp. We’re starting to get some guys that we think are ahead of the other guys. It’s not that hard to figure out when you’re only two-deep at every spot. It’s hard to move people around when you only have 22 bodies. We’ll have more guys in camp, and we’ll get hurt guys healthy. We’ll practice and try to figure out a lineup about a week before the first game.
On the Gold-Blue game
I hope it looks alright. We don’t want to have 18 penalties and 18 sacks. We don’t want to have to punt. Coach Stewart had done a great job with our punt team, but the fans aren’t coming to see them kick the ball 20 times. Hopefully it looks good. I’m sure the guys are pretty excited. The guys get tired of practicing, which is just the nature, but when you get a live event with people in the stands, they’ll probably get pretty cranked up for it.
Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel
On the last two spring practices
We’ll still put a few more wrinkles in off our base, but the main thing is what we’ve been doing all spring – getting better fundamentally. Our communication has gotten progressively better, but we’re still looking at the same things. We still need to work on tackling and getting on and off blocks. That’s the game. Our success or lack of success will really come off of those things.
On the guys that will join the team this summer
I don’t really concern myself with the guys that aren’t here yet. When they get here in camp, it picks up. We have some good kids coming, but really you’re going to win or lose with the guys you have here now. There may be a kid or two that can step in and play for us – I don’t know.
Defensively, it’s really tough for a kid to come in and play different coverages. If you’re going to be good, there’s a lot of responsibility that goes with some of those things. The good thing about offense is they can punt. Defensively, we can’t punt. We need to know what we’re doing. If they (the offense) play three bad snaps, they punt the ball. If we play three bad snaps, we play three more bad snaps.
On the play of defensive back Darwin Cook
He’s a kid that can run. He’s a wonderful kid that wants to do well. He’s had to learn the game from the ground up. He was never back in coverage before. (Coach) Steve (Dunlap) has done a great job with him. You can really see him playing the game a little bit more. He still has a long way to go, but you can see him getting better.
On having to understand the offense to play defense
You better stay up with what’s going on on both sides of the ball. They (the offensive coaches) are obviously studying defenses, and we’re studying offenses. There are always new things to come out, and hopefully you can try to work on those things in the spring or fall camps. You want the kids to have an understanding. That’s why those first few games are really tough – you don’t know what you’re going to see.
Defensively, when you’re out there with a lot of new kids, it really becomes an issue. It comes down to being able to block and tackle. Those are the things you have to get good at. If you play aggressively and run to the ball, you often can cover-up a mistake.
On the play of defensive lineman Bruce Irvin and his success in more than just pass rushing
He needs to work on the fundamentals. He needs to work on his hands, his pad level and understand what is happening around him. On third down, obviously the situation is dictated for you for the most part. He has to be able to go in and play the game a little bit. Even though we’ll be doing more film study in the fall, right now is just all fundamentals. He hasn’t done a lot of that before, so this has been a good spring for Bruce.
On measuring the defense’s “success” against the offense
They (the offense) aren’t cutting. There are a lot of things you aren’t seeing. I think we’ll have to wait until we start playing in the fall – that’s when we’ll see how much improvement has been made. He (Irvin) has done a good job. He’s very willing, and he’s been a leader for us. It’s not hard for him to be a difference-maker because he’s so big, tall and fast. We have to lasso him in a little bit.
On how Irvin is handling blocks
Those are the things we’re trying to manufacture now in our defense practice, but there’s really not a substitute for that. He’s a tough kid. (Coach Bill) Kirelawich works with him in individuals, and those are the things we’re trying to get better at.
On the “lack” of tackling
I think that’s a problem nation-wide. You don’t want to get guys hurt. It makes it tough. You really have to stay on the kids to get them to put their hips and feet in a position to make a play even when they aren’t. It’s really a tough situation, and you have to get them to focus. When we’re allowed to tackle, you have to make sure their fundamentals are there. That’s just the way the game has been, from the NFL level all the way down.
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