Assistant Coach & Player Quotes
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Quotes from select Mountaineer football coaches and players during their media session today at the Milan Puskar Center:
Coach Robert Gillespie
- On Shawne Alston
He has been catching the ball, pass protecting, communicating and a leader to the younger guys. He has had a great camp. He has left camp as the top guy. He just needs to keep his focus and be prepared for the first game.
- On D’Vontis Arnold
All of the guys have worked hard. D’Vontis Arnold is a guy many of you haven’t heard of until now. He has been able to take some quality reps. He has a lot of character. You like to see all of the guys compete. D’Vontis has done a great job running the ball. He is a guy that can play if we need him. It is great to find a guy that has worked his way into being a guy that we are comfortable with.
Coach Jake Spavital
- On how camp was for the quarterbacks
We got a lot of good work with the younger quarterbacks. We still have some questions as far as depth, but we are pretty solid offensively, because we have a lot of returning starters. We have put the younger guys in a lot of situations with crowd noise and things like that. There were times when they made some decisions that made you wonder what we were doing at quarterback, but they are progressing along.
- On Paul Millard
Paul is to the point where he isn’t just communicating the play and handing the ball off. He is doing all of that plus he is reading the defense. He is trying to find what is best for the offense. He has made a lot of strides. With Geno gone the past couple of days, these practices have been very beneficial to him.
Coach Joe DeForest
- On the defense at the completion of camp
No question, I am satisfied. We are exactly where I thought we would be. There have been some players that have risen to the top. We have so much healthy competition. The guys are fighting for playing time. That is something that we talked about in the spring. All of the jobs are open, and they are fighting their tails off. Overall, we got most of the package in, and we are in good shape.
- On if the starters have been decided
The defense has been installed for a whole spring and two weeks for camp. They have grasped it. The guys that make mistakes will weed themselves out. We are working with the guys that understand what to do. We also are looking at the guys who want to play hard. We have a starting 11 and about five guys we can trust.
Coach Erik Slaughter
- On narrowing down starters
You put guys that are unproven in a position to be proven. You have to put them out there to see what they can do. You need that live action. You have to watch and critique all of that and then break it down with them in the film room. You have to know if a guy can be put in a situation to perform.
- On watching film of players
It is never as good as you think it is on the field, but it is never as bad. You are always going to have stuff you need to fix, but you are also going to see things you didn’t see on the field. The thing that is non-negotiable in our room is the attitude. We are going to have great attitude and great effort from our guys. We can fix everything else if they have a great attitude and are leaders.
- On the grind of camp
The grind just doesn’t stop. You have classes this week, as well as lifting and practices.
- On moving to the buck
Right now, I feel like I know every responsibility for that position. Coach Slaughter hasn’t seen me messing up a lot right now. Coach Slaughter wants to keep me at the weight I am at now. I feel like I am a fit for this position. There is a lot of freedom in this position, but rushing the quarterback is fun.
- On where he is in his career
I have had to come a long way since my freshman year. I have added a lot of size. I am more mentally prepared for what is going to happen at this point in my career. You have to take advantage of opportunities to work out or get reps. You want the coach to see you doing those types of things.
- On how he learns
I learn from making mistakes and from doing something successful. You don’t want to repeat the mistakes, but you want to make sure you do the good things over and over again. It is a learning process. Good things, bad things, you learn from them all.
- On his Orange Bowl interception
That was a pretty simple mistake. We were running all verticals, and I just didn’t look off the safety. If I would have done that, it probably would have been successful had I done that.
- On this season
I am just getting ready for the season. I am just focused on 2012 and getting out there and playing. I want to get out there and play at a high level.
- On playing quarterback in high school
It was a little tougher in high school, because I played quarterback and cornerback. Now, I have all my attention set on playing cornerback. I am focused, and I can be more aggressive than I was in high school. It has been a big adjustment to the college game, but I am getting used to it.
- On what the biggest change to college has been
I would say it is learning the plays - everything else is just about athleticism. You have to be fast and use your fast-twitch skills. Now that I have learned the plays, I just have to go out and execute them on the field. It took me about a week to get all of the coverages down. Once I get on the field, things are coming to me a little quicker.
- On helping younger linemen
We had a very good offense when I came in as a freshman. When the coaching changes happened, we were at the forefront of that. We took it upon ourselves to teach these new kids coming in. We want to give them the mentality of how physical we want to be. If you mess a play up, physicality can make up for that.
- On criticism of offensive line play
You can’t take it personally. The biggest thing you can do about it is get better. We take everything one day at a time. It has gotten to the point this year that the line is going to be a strong point of this team. The starting five that we have out there has confidence in each other. We already know what each other is going to do.
-On bringing along younger players
The process has gone pretty good thus far. Camp has been a grind for them, but it has gone well. Our coaches came in here with an emphasis that the younger guys will need to provide depth for us. The young guys have stepped up to the plate pretty quickly to this point.
- On playing multiple positions
I like playing the tackles spot in the run defense, but I obviously like playing nose tackle in the pass. We have different packages that put me in different spots. I will be bouncing back and forth in each of those positions depending on what we are running.
- On his confidence and versatility
I have to continue to make plays. My confidence is pretty high. I never put my head down last year, and I believed in my heart that everything was going to be okay. Knowing more than one position has opened up my chance to play. I am comfortable wherever they put me.
- On not having Geno Smith there
Paul has come in and accepted his role. He understands that something could happen during the season, and we may need to call on him. He may have to come in and make plays. Paul has been great in practice, and I think his confidence level is up. We need to have that type of depth in this conference.
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