Football: Coach Holgorsen News Conference
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - WVU coach Dana Holgorsen addresses the media about day one of spring camp.
It was a good first day. We had really good energy, and it was good to get back out there. After eight weeks of offseason, lifting and running, it was good to get back out there and take advantage of working with them from a technique standpoint and assignment standpoint. The bottom line is that it was the first day and without pads, but from an offensive perspective, it was where we were a year ago defensively. From a defensive perspective, it’s where we were offensively a year ago. The roles have been flipped. We’ve got a long ways to go on both sides. Offensively, it’s a lot easier to coach them because of how they’re going, but defensively there was a lot of coaching because they didn’t know where they were going. It will be fun to see how that plays out, get back out there and have another day of non-pads and we can talk what real football looks like.
On the weather
It was a beautiful day. It was awesome. We didn’t have one day like this last year. There was a big ole cloud above our head for a long time. It’s good that that’s gone and it was good to get out there. I didn’t think this weather existed here in March or April. We kicked around the Sunday thing for a long time. Just getting them back into the rhythm of a work week, I think is going to be good for us. Last year, we did mornings, which I didn’t like. Getting them back on Sundays, they don’t need to worry about school, but can be back ready for school on Mondays, study hall is open tonight, so they’ll get back to thinking about school on Monday morning. For every college kid across the country, it’s always been a struggle to get them thinking about school until they wake up on Mondays.
On overseeing other segments of practice
I didn’t do that at all last spring. Throughout camp, I trusted these guys on the offensive side, which is why we hired them. It was easier. I understand the scheme a little better now, and the coaches a little bit better, and I understand the players a little bit better now. It’s more productive for me to go watch a drill or a segment.
On progress on day one for the mid-year enrollees
They’re all lost. Three of them are on defense, and everyone is lost on defense right now based on it being the first day regardless if they’re a starter or upperclassman, freshman or new enrollee. Their heads are spinning a little bit. All of them were extremely attentive, they flew around, they were eager to learn. I was pleased with their attitude regardless if it was a new guy or a returning starter.
On working with the offense for the second year and not having to install a new offense for the first time in three years
It felt good. I probably did less coaching today than I’ve done the last three springs. It was more like it was with Case Keenum coming back at Houston. After you’ve coached him for a year, you didn’t have to tell him a whole bunch. Back when we had Graham Harrell coming back for a second year, everything looked good. Geno looked poised, so we didn’t have to say a whole lot to him. It helps to have four linemen coming back that know what to do, five if you add Quinton Spain in there who took snaps for us. He had four receivers that he was throwing to, five with Ryan Nehlen, that all had taken reps in games. That makes it a lot easier. Then you have four or five backs that took reps last year. It’s a natural progression for year two. We’re really happy with where we’re at right now.
On having upperclassmen step up during the spring
It’s not as important now as it will be in the summer. We have 24 guys coming in this summer. We have two new guys out there right now, Jordan Thompson and Ford Childress. We’ve got 14 guys on offense coming in with a whole slew of receivers, which will give us a whole bunch of depth. The summer time is when it’s important. Right now is our time to coach whoever is out there. When June and July hit, there’s nothing we can do from a coaching standpoint. That’s when it’s important for the guys who go through spring to understand what we’re doing to coach those guys.
On being able to see who has developed over the offseason
All of them. We met on every kid this morning. We’re really pleased with Mike Joseph and his staff on what they did with these guys over the course of eight weeks. We feel that they’re all better physically than they were eight weeks ago. After the long grind of the season, you’ve got eight weeks to get them back into shape. We feel like we’re in pretty good shape right now. Over the next five weeks, hopefully we can maintain that and get better at playing football. The biggest gains from a physical standpoint come in June and July, because we can’t do anything with them from a football standpoint. You’ve got 10 weeks for getting after them from a physical standpoint.
On the progress of Josh Jenkins
He looked good, and he was happy to be out there. You’ve got to consider him as a returning starter. He went through a whole spring last year and was sitting in on meeting during the season, so he knows what to do. He’s happy to be out there; we’ll get him back into shape, and we’ve got some time to do that. He’s been full-time since we got back from the bowl game, which is running and lifting. Not a whole lot you can do other than that.
On how the new coaches are doing
They’re all hoarse right now. I actually have my voice right now. I usually can’t talk in these press conferences after practices. They’re the hoarse ones now. I just talked to all of them, and they couldn’t talk. We go so fast in between practice and in between plays that they don’t have a whole lot of time to coach, so they’ve got to yell. They’re hoarse.
On helping the defense progress
We’re baby-stepping them more than we did the offense. We threw a lot at them in three days, and we’re taking it more slowly with them than we were able to last year. Last year, defensively, we had a lot of returning guys in the system they had run for eight years. They were able to do a whole lot more early. Offensively, we throw a lot at them and keep repeating it, but defensively we’ll spoon-feeding them, and it may be three or four weeks into spring ball before we get the majority of it in.
On helping the offense keep focused knowing the defense is young
I’ll just have them watch the South Florida game or the Pitt tape. Our defensive guys are watching some of that Pitt tape, which naturally I see some of that just walking down the halls. I’ve got a couple tapes I can put on if I need to. It’s about live reps at game speed. When you get into game weeks, it’s more about preparation, but that’s not something that’s been discussed too much.
On receiver battles
We constantly evaluate them. J.D. Woods looked good today. I’ll probably kick myself by saying that. He looked good. Ivan McCartney looked good. Ryan Nehlen looked good. But it’s non-padded, so you’re supposed to look good. Those guys know where they’re going and from a tempo and timing standpoint, on the same page as Paul and Geno. They’re supposed to look good. It’s always, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ If somebody has a bad week, then we’ll replace them with somebody else pretty quickly. I don’t remember how many receivers we signed or how many we’ve got coming in, but there’s a reason we signed a whole bunch of them. That’s going to develop a whole bunch of depth come summer and fall camp.
On building off hunger from the bowl game
I saw it out there today not only from a team standpoint, but a confidence standpoint that came through lifting weights and the offseason competition and conditioning. The guys have gone to study hall and gone to class, so it’s all helped the program.
On a comfort level or sense of urgency on offense
There’s a lot of sense of urgency out there right now. One of the things we’ve talked about over the past nine weeks is if you think you’re comfortable with what we’re doing, then you’re going to get passed up. If you think you’ve got it figured out, that’s an on-going thing that will never change.
On Ford Childress absorbing the system
He has tremendous talent. He’s physically very imposing with a phenomenal arm, which is exactly what we knew when we recruited him. On understanding the offense, obviously he’s got a long ways to go. He looked like Paul did last year, when he first got here. I’m sure he looks like Geno did when he first got here. He’s a tremendous talent that’s going to take time and reps for him to be comfortable with it like Geno and Paul are.
Once we get pads on, there’s a lot more to talk about.
Dana Holgorsen, WVU football
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