Football: Select Player Interviews
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Select West Virginia University football players met this evening with the media to discuss spring practice:
Defensive End Will Clarke
On the new defensive scheme
I think because it’s a different scheme and due to the way it's applied, people are automatically assuming that we think less. I guess the responsibility is allowing it to be less thinking and more reactive.
On the lineup of the new scheme and how that affects the chemistry of play
Instead of the three linemen, we have another guy inside, so we have two inside guys instead of the one inside and two outside. It’s easier to relay the message.
On the veterans stepping up on defense
Us older guys learned from the guys who left, so we’re just filling in the roles of teaching the younger guys so they can teach the guys that will come after us.
On the preference of a position
I like rushing off the edge, but I like playing inside because I like to believe I’m faster than a lot of the inside guys so I like having that advantage, too.
On the vocal leaders this spring as compared to last year
It’s more of collective noise than just one individual – it’s more of a rallying type of thing as a unit rather than one person stepping out and declaring himself a leader.
Linebacker Josh Francis
On his opportunities in the new scheme
You have to rush and go out and cover a receiver, and I can do those things pretty well. I’m excited for the transition into this season.
On the difference in schemes between this year and last year
It’s a lot easier; it’s more of a freestyle and fluent type of play.
On the change of his responsibilities this season
This year I have to contain the quarterback, and I’m playing faster and giving more effort. If you play with great effort, they are going to show you some new techniques. I always give great effort, so new technique is the next thing that falls in line.
On the defense being better this year than last spring
We’re on the same page – everybody that’s a backup is on the same page as the first team.
On losing playing time in 2011
There was a lot of confusion and it was stressful, but everything happens for a reason and I believe that I stuck through last year. I would love some more opportunities to learn.
Quarterback Geno Smith
On Quarterback Ford Childress
He’s still going through the stages; he’s been making good throws and he’s been making some bad reads as well. That’s what happens, but as long he stays focused I think he’ll do fine.
On Quarterback Paul Millard
Paul’s comfortable, and he’s out there to compete. He’s a guy who was mature from the moment I met him, and that’s very rare for a freshman. That’s something that makes Paul who he is, and I think so far he’s been competing. He’s been pushing me and pushing the second team offense. Those guys have been getting better and so has Paul.
I think he’s fit to be a starter. We don’t discuss anything about him being a backup. Paul understands that whatever his role is, he’s going to embrace it, but at the same time, now is the time to compete; he kicks my butt many times. I’m going after him, and he’s going after me as well.
On the break
Everyone needed that week. We’re out there competing our butts off and we work very hard. To have a week off to get home and enjoy your family with a little bit of time off is good. Everyone came back focused and on time which is pretty good.
On the offense’s progress this spring
We expect perfection – which is impossible – but at the same time it’s something that we strive for. It’s the same reason why Coach Holgorsen says we’re not where he wants us to be - because he’s a perfectionist. We’re not going to be perfect, but we have to get to a point where we are all on the same page and we understand what we have to do to be a good team and a good offense.
On Inside Receiver Tavon Austin
Right now, Tavon is leading this offense, there’s no doubt about it. In the Orange Bowl, he took it upon himself to be that guy in this offense and now he’s just making us go. Not to say anything about the rest of our receivers, but he’s one of those special guys who can make something happen any time he touches the ball.
On his personal performance this spring
Personally, I think I’ve been doing a good job of leading this team. I’ve had my ups and downs, and I’m going to make mistakes. I think I’ve gotten better over time with dealing with my mistakes and not getting too down on myself and just moving on to the next play.
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