MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A transcript of WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen's weekly news conference:
Opening Statement We had a good Sunday to wrap up the Texas game. As with every Sunday, we came in, addressed what was good and what was bad and watched the tape and told them that the game was over with. There wasn’t any time to celebrate. Hopefully, everybody that is associated with the program from a fan standpoint had a tremendous day on Saturday, and I hear they celebrated a lot.
From a program standpoint, we got back (to work) Sunday night and quit talking about Texas on Sunday night. They’re students on Monday, and they got back in here today and got a lift in this morning. When we meet in here at 2:30, it’s 100 percent Texas Tech. I’m not going to talk much about Texas, and I don’t want any of the players talking about Texas. It’s all about staying on the grind, and if these guys want to win a national championship then they need to learn how to do that. The next game has to be every bit important as the previous one. We’ve had three pretty emotional games in a row, with Maryland, Baylor and Texas, and these guys have to understand that it is college football. I think we have a group that understands that.
Texas Tech is a good football team. They had a setback last week, but they’ll be ready to go. It’s their homecoming, and they’ll be fired up about playing. From their fan standpoint, there will be some 60,000 people that will be anxious to get a crack at the Mountaineers. We need to play on all three sides of the ball.
Defensively, they’re one of the top teams in the country. They have given up 200 yards per game, so people haven’t moved the ball on them. We were in here 16 hours yesterday trying to figure out creative ways to get first downs. They do a good job against the run, they do a good job against the pass and they create turnovers, and we’re going to have to play as good as we have all year offensively.
Offensively, they run a similar system to what we do. I’ve known their coaches for some time and we have been to a lot of different clinics together. They do a lot of the same stuff we do, which is pretty similar to what Oklahoma does, which is pretty similar to what Oklahoma State does. There are a lot of teams that do the same stuff. They vary their tempo, they go fast, they can slow it down, they use tight ends, they use fullbacks, they screen, they want to establish the runs, they have really good skill at receiver, they have two or three backs that can really go and they have a quarterback that is a veteran and understands the system and game of football.
On how Texas Tech is different defensively They have had four or five different defensive coordinators in the past four or five years. There is enough material on what they do; they’re not very tricky. They’re very, very sound and are never out of position. They blitz eight percent of the time. They’re not a gimmick defense - they’re a sound, effort defense. They play hard, and their guys are in position. That poses problems when you don’t know what they’re going to do and that aggravates you from a game-plan standpoint. We can come up with a bunch of plays, but it’s hard to execute against them.
On what a Tommy Tuberville coached team is I’ve only gone against him once. I can only base it on what I see on film this year, and what I see is they play hard, sound defense. They’re not used to giving up many points and yards. What they do offensively now is a lot different than what he’s done in the past. I know what they do offensively, and like I said they’re going to tempo you, run the ball and get the ball in space. We have to do a good job tackling in space. They’re going to pose a bunch of problems.
On whether the Big 12 schedule takes a physical or mental toll From a coaching standpoint, you have to have a routine and these guys have to understand what’s at stake. You have to have seniors that understand it and can handle it. I think we have a bunch of seniors who can handle it. The game is physical; every game you play is physical. You need to try to stay healthy to keep your body in shape by going to treatment, eating well, lifting well, recover and sleep at night.
From a mental standpoint, you need to stay focused. You need to handle all of your business away from here, but when you come in here at 2:30 you have to be focused and ready to go. If you think you can take anything for granted, you will get beat.
On the intensity of the sideline against Texas I thought we were real good. We talked all week about creating a sense of urgency and creating our energy on the sideline, which are two things you have to have when you play on the road. This week we need to play with a sense of urgency, and we need to create our own energy on the sideline because it’s a road game, not because of who we play, but because it is a road game. We addressed that after Louisville because we didn’t have that on our sidelines, but we went to Cincinnati and we had that. That’s continued since then, and I’ve been happy about it.
On keeping Geno Smith’s no interception streak talk to a minimum The first step is to not talk about it and obviously when it comes to you guys, you’re going to want to talk about it. If you think he is the only one who can control that, you’re nuts. I know it’s his stat, but everybody else can help control that. We don’t talk about that. We talk about completions and putting the ball where you need to put the ball. From whatever play we’re in, if his job is to go here, here and here, then he needs to go here, here and here and throw it to the open guy. The protection has to be good, and we have to run the ball good to keep some heat off Geno as far as having him have to throw the ball into eight people who are dropping. When the ball is in the air, it’s up to the receiver to attack it and makes sure it is ours.
On the depth of Texas Tech’s receivers They play a lot of guys. The good news is they can only play five eligible receivers at once, so they can’t play all eight of those guys. They like to play four receivers and a back, or two backs and three receivers, or two backs, a tight end and two receivers. We just have to figure out what their personnel groups are and cover the guys that are eligible. It doesn’t matter which ones they are, they have a bunch of good ones. We’re not fortunate to be deep like that; they’re fortunate to be deep like that.
On his reaction to Saturday night’s celebrations I didn’t hear about it until Monday. I didn’t see any of it. I worry about what I can control and what I can control is what was happening in Austin. I was getting our guys focused for the game, playing the game, getting them ready to get on a plane to fly back here and getting them to show up on Sunday and putting it to rest. We got home somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:30 (a.m.), and I don’t know what was happening at that point.
On whether the celebrations bother him I honestly don’t know what happened. I heard there were riots and Mace. I’m pretty focused in on what we’re supposed to be doing. Even if I know about it, what am I going to do about it? It’s not my responsibility. If it had something to do with a special win, then I would encourage everybody involved to get used to wins like that. Was that a big win for the program? Yes. Was it good for recruiting and branding? Absolutely. Does it count as a championship? No. It counts as one win, it counts as the same win as Baylor did, which is the same win that Marshall was minus the conference standings. Our goal is to win the conference and we’re 2-0; those two wins are equal. There is no difference in the Texas win and the Baylor win. If we’re fortunate to prepare hard, get our guys ready to play, travel smart and safely and go beat Texas Tech, that’s going to count as a win, too. I don’t understand what was so special about it.
On whether Texas Tech is a trap game There will be 60,000 that care about their football; I would assume that will be pretty rowdy as well. That’s the beauty with being in the Big 12 - every game is like that. Now was Texas a little bit above and beyond based on 101,000? Yes. Coach (Mack) Brown even said it was the greatest crowd ever. That environment exists, and we need to get used to being in those types of environments and having those types of games. That’s why we wanted to be in the Big 12. If they thought that was fun, we have another one this week. I can’t wait; I’m looking forward to it. I had fun, our players had fun and our 10,000 fans had fun. If they all thought that was fun and Baylor was fun, then they will probably have a good time this weekend.
I don’t understand what a trap game means. You play the same every week. If you don’t have the ability to understand that every week is the same, you get beat. Whether it’s a trap game or ‘big’ game, it’s a game.
On whether Andrew Buie is proving he can carry the load at running back It looks like it to me. The concern is the wear and tear. As I’ve mentioned a hundred times, the wear and tear is a little different on running backs than quarterback or a receiver or a corner or a safety that doesn’t take that (a hit) every time. He carried it 31 times, and he got hit 31 times. He blocks, which is hard, and he runs routes, which is taxing. The wear and tear is something to be concerned with, which is why we need to get Dustin (Garrison) healthy and Shawne (Alston) healthy.
On Alston’s progress We gave it a go for a couple of days; it didn’t work, so we didn’t travel him. He stayed at home, got treatment on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and yesterday. He got treatment this morning, so we’ll see how it goes today.
On Texas Tech only blitzing eight percent of the time When you blitz you are taking chances. Blitzing means taking chances, and pressuring means taking chances. You are taking people out of position to help prevent the score if you put the ball in play. By not doing that they are covering more ground. They have more people in coverage, and if you happen to complete the ball they have more people going to it. They’re in position to make plays. Every defense poses challenges, and every defense we scheme to attack.
On any specific defensive players to watch They play quite a bit of people. The safeties are the guys that always show up. No. 12 (D.J. Johnson) and No. 16 (Cody Davis) have been around there for a long time; they’re both seniors. Those are the two guys on defense that I remember from when I prepared against them four years ago and three years ago. They’re big kids; they come downhill a lot and are the two leading tacklers. Other than that, they play a lot of people. They play several different backers and rotate their D-line, much like they’re doing at receiver.