MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Dana Holgorsen addresses the media following practice on Tuesday, April 3.
Opening Statement Three quick announcements: as far as personnel, Pat Miller has broken a very small bone (5th metatarsal) in his foot (right) and had a successful surgery this morning. It’s a two-month process, so he’ll be full-speed. Obviously, he’s out for spring and will be full-speed by July 1. We’ll get a good month of work out of him, so he’ll be fine for the season. Matt Lindamood has retired and is no longer with the team. Some of that stuff is already out there, but I wanted to give some clarification to it. We won’t talk about it again, but Derek Bryant has been suspended due to a violation of team rules and will no longer be with the team.
With that said, we just finished up practice No. 7. It was a spirited practice. Coming back from Spring Break, we had a workout Sunday night and got some of the Spring Break out of them. We got a good lift in yesterday and had a very spirited practice today, so I’m happy with how it went. We’ve got seven down and eight more to go, so I’m looking forward to it.
On how quickly the guys adjusted from Spring Break If you don’t require guys to work out, then they’re not going to work out. We had a good run on Sunday. We had several of them show us what they had to eat earlier in the day, then they got a good meal in and woke up and did their weights and study hall, so it got them back into the flow of things.
On where Pat Miller’s injury in the foot occurred I don’t know – I’m not a doctor. He did it the Thursday prior to Spring Break. He came back, and they did the X-rays that day, and we knew he had to have the surgery. He went on Spring Break and came back for surgery this morning.
On if Miller’s absence will allow other guys to step in and get some work It does allow them to get some work, but we’re not very deep at corner. You have Brodrick Jenkins and you have Avery Williams, who obviously needs work. You have Terrell Chestnut, who obviously needs work. Lawrence Smith is a guy who didn’t play last year but is back. He needs reps. Cecil Level needs reps, but he’s a walk-on, so we’re down to three scholarships corners now. We’d rather Pat get the reps, but that happens in football, and we’ll move on.
On how Terrell Chestnut is looking He’s looking okay. He’s still not where we want him to be by any stretch of the imagination. He got beat on a couple of post routes today, and then I saw him puffing on an inhaler on the sidelines. He’s a guy who’s still trying to figure out how to play in pads due to not having pads on for a year, because he had the shoulder surgery. He’s not where we want him to be, and he’s a guy that needs to take advantage of as many reps as he can. If he’s puffing on an inhaler, that’s not going to be possible, but he needs to overcome that and get out there and play as much as he can.
On his satisfaction level midway through Spring Camp We just need to get better. You know that I’m never satisfied with anything. That’s part of it. What I’m happy about is that it seems like we’re battling back and forth. I had a little concern about that since we have a new defensive scheme and on offense we’ve got nine starters back. That hasn’t been the case. The defense has done well. We’ll make some plays on them, but then they make some stops, we make some plays, then they get some stops. I’m happy with the competitive nature where we’re at. We’ve still got a long ways to go from an assignment standpoint and from a schematic standpoint. Today was the first day that we started scores on goal line. It didn’t look very good, so we’ve got to improve on that just like we need to improve on everything. We want to be where we are midseason, so we’ve got a lot of work to do the rest of spring. All through camp, it’s still a process.
On how the defense performed after Spring Break I’m working one side of the ball a little bit more than the other side of the ball. I spent about 45 minutes down there watching individual things on defense. It’s not until I go in and watch tape that I see the carryover and the installation to see where they’re at.
On how the team has progressed since the start of camp I’ve made reference to this before, but it takes longer to install a new offense, but what we need to do to get better is find backups, but from a situational thing, we’ve got to get better on third downs, get better at the scoring percentage in the red zone, the touchdown percentage in the score zone, better at short yard and goal line situations. We started doing that stuff today. It looked different from what we can watch on tape and build on it from there. Before spring, it was all installation stuff. Two of them were non-padded, but the majority of the rest of spring will focus on what we’ve got to do to get better in situational work. There was a lot of that stuff out there today.
On the freshmen in camp Ford Childress’ head is still spinning, which it’s going to. Just like Paul Millard’s was spinning last year, but we had to rep him a bunch. He had to take 50 percent of the reps. Based on what Paul can do, and Geno being Geno, we don’t need to force-feed him those reps. We’re in a bit of a luxury for him to watch, so he’s doing fine. He’s got a great arm, but we’re not evaluating him a ton since we don’t have to.
Jordan Thompson made a bunch of plays out there today. He’s got a lot of shake to him and plays a lot bigger than he is. I’m pleased with his progress. Karl Joseph has been impressive, from picking it up and a maturity standpoint, a physical standpoint, I’ve been very impressed with him. Imarjaye Albury has looked good. Whenever you’re in the trenches, you’ve got it tougher, so he’s got a long ways to go, but he’s trying hard.
Sean Walters is about 25 pounds heavier than he was three months ago. His frame looks great, he’ll strike you. He needs to, from a mental standpoint, adjust. He played at the hash in high school and would roam the field and go to the ball, which is good, but now he’s got to think a bit more. Now he’s playing down. He’s progressing, but we want him to progress more in the next eight practices.
On position switches in camp Donovan Miles is with the fullbacks. Since Matt Lindamood is not here, we need a body. Ryan Clarke is doing great. Donovan is going to get more playing time over on offense and his attitude has been great about it. There are some guys on the defensive line moving around a bit, but there’s nothing to talk about at this point. They get moved back. It’s the same thing with the linebackers. They go from one position to another based on scheme. There’s a lot of that happening right now, but nothing worth talking about.
On possibility of redshirting Ford Childress It’s in the best interest of our football team. Paul is so far ahead, because of the reps he’s had. We’ll let Ford absorb it, take a bunch of reps and in a year from now compete. In a perfect world, yes, we’ll redshirt him, but you know how that goes.
On what the coaches did during Spring Break I didn’t talk to the players. You get away from each other. We spend so much time here together, I don’t want to go on vacation with them. I didn’t spend any time with them. A lot of these guys go somewhere with their family.
On Tavon Austin He’s looking really good. He’s moving a lot faster than he did. One of the deals that we were talking about him earlier is that he’s fast 15 percent of the time when the ball is in his hands, and not fast when the ball’s not in his hands. Now he’s playing fast all the time. He looks like a totally different guy, which is obviously exciting.
He’s got great hand-eye coordination, he’s strong. There are guys with muscles who aren’t strong. He’s got a grip, and he’s got strength. He can snatch that thing out of the air. I don’t know what his vertical is. I hate that weight room – I don’t go down there.
We’ve got to get him the ball more. We did that in the bowl game; he touched it quite a bit. Let’s try to do that again.