Football: Select Player Interviews
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University football players meet with members of the media to discuss spring practice.
Running Back Shawne Alston
On spring practice
Every day is an audition when you’re going out to practice. You just have to go out and compete with the people in the backfield, but also make them better as you’re making yourself better too.
On the changes this season
I think it’s the fact that I’m more healthy than I was last year, and also because I’m getting more reps since Dustin (Garrison) is down – but I know he’s going to come back fighting. Buie (Andrew Buie) has done a good job taking care of the ball and just running hard. It’s a lot of people in the backfield, but I think everyone’s doing a good job of taking advantage of the reps that they are getting.
On his progress so far this season
I’m feeling pretty good. I have to leave early for class so that plays a lot into me being healthy right now, but I just go out and work hard in the little bit of practice that I do get to do.
On the future
I’m trying to graduate early and start graduate school in August so it’s one of those things that you have to do – take care of the classroom first.
On being a running back in the WVU offense
I think it’s a good thing as long as you’re able to pass protect, and sometimes we have to get out of the backfield and do a couple things but also when the defense is waiting on a pass we just come running down hill on them, so that helps a little bit. The receivers, Geno, and the running backs we have in the backfield complement each other well.
Linebacker Jared Barber
On spring practice
It’s going really well. We’re getting the hang of it – playing hard and playing fast. We’re getting comfortable with the new defense; obviously there’s some stuff we all need to work on - today we messed up on some pass coverages – but I think it’s coming along really well.
On being a leader on defense
It’s definitely a big compliment, because we have great players on the defense and it humbles me. I just try to work hard and play hard and try to be that leader.
On the toughest part of transition
Being patient is tough; unlike the 3-3-5, where you try to get downhill and try to smack somebody every play. With this defense, you have to be patient and scrape off the top of things and stuff like that.
On the defense’s progress
Right now, we’re just trying to get in here and learn, watch film, play hard and fly around and have fun.
On the new system
I came here for the 3-3-5, but I know things happen. It’s a business, so it’s not that big of a deal. The new system frees you up a lot; it allows you to run a little bit and keeps you clean.
On the BIG 12
When I was a little kid my favorite team was Texas, so that will be interesting. But that’s big boy football – it’s a big conference. I don’t pay too much attention to it, we played in the Big East, and that’s what I looked at and focused on. They’re big name teams, but we’re a big name team too.
Defensive Back Travis Bell
On the new defense
We’re understanding it, and its coming along, but we still have time to get better. It is just different reads.
On the extra reps
Well, practice makes perfect so obviously if you keep practicing you’re going to get better.
On Tavon Austin
He’s a different human being, and it’s so hard to stop him; you can stop him once a month probably, and I’m against him every day. We’re going to keep working to try to stop him.
Quarterback Geno Smith
On the scrimmage
It was amazing to compete against the defense. I feel like we did a great job in moving the ball and executing situations. The defense got after us the previous practice so it gave us some extra motivation coming into that scrimmage.
On third down and red zone
That’s the most important part of the game. People don’t understand that you play first and second down, and you’re going to get the third down, so those are the ones that you have to convert, because you have to stay on the field. Even when you get in the red zone, you want to score touchdowns, but mainly you want to have positive plays so that you don’t get pushed out of field goal range or have a turnover. Those key situations are important in every game, and it’s great that we get a chance to focus on them right now.
On the chemistry of the offense
It’s amazing to have the chemistry with these guys – we’ve been playing together for four years now – me and Stedman have been playing together forever, and it’s just a great opportunity. Especially with this offense, we have a lot of freedom, and we get a chance to go out there and play the game that we love to play.
On Wide Receiver Stedman Bailey
Stedman and I are brothers; our families hang out, and we hang out, so we’re just like family. I remember my sophomore year of high school, we sat down and I taught Stedman how to read the field like a quarterback. He thinks he’s a quarterback, and he’s telling me what’s going on, and he helps me out a lot on the field. He’s not a selfish guy, and that’s something that makes this offense so good. None of our receivers are selfish and they all want to do good.
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