Coach Dana Holgorsen - Practice Update 1
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Coach Dana Holgorsen addresses the media following practice No. 1 on Thursday, Aug. 1:
Okay, welcome everybody. Day one is completed, which is typically like most day ones I would imagine for everyone across the country. Everyone's energy level is high, attitude is good, and everyone’s excited to get back to playing ball. It was a successful day. Camp is a process so we will line up and do it again tomorrow, before we actually get pads on and can start hitting each other a little bit, which is obviously a little bit more like real football. The energy level was good, the attitude was good and everybody is excited about getting back to work.
On what you take out of a day one and the kind of things are you looking at with the guys out there for the first time?
Communication probably more than anything. We are still going to go through our install. You do your best on teaching technique but without actually colliding it is hard to teach a lot of technique so you look at just the way guys communicate, the tempo they play with, the attitude they play with, the energy they play with and then getting in and out of the huddle, getting the calls, communicating the calls, and then knowing what their assignment is. I was pleased with how that went, and these guys have been practicing all summer this stuff. This was the first time we were able to watch it but didn't see a whole lot of mental busts. There is going to be a lot of mental busts with new guys, which existed a few times, but overall I thought it went well from an assignment standpoint. As camp goes on, we will focus on what the technique aspect of things are and continue to try to get them to play with a high level of effort.
On the conditioning of the players and how it has progressed from years past:
I think our guys are in phenomenal shape. I like the way our team looks. Our staff has been talking about this all since yesterday. It has been eight or nine weeks since we have seen them, and the team continues to change as guys are added, which we feel like we have done a good job of recruiting and getting guys in here that have a different body type and upgrading the level of athlete that we bring in. I think our guys are in pretty good shape, and they look good to us. I give Mike Joseph and his staff a lot of credit. They have done a great job over the last nine weeks, all of them. We have had this discussion a bunch about how voluntary it is in the summer, but we had a high level of participation, and you can tell by the way those guys are running around and how they look.
On Quinton Spain:
He has matured. One of the most frustrating things for us to do offensively is to rely on young offensive linemen. That is just a very, very hard position to play at a young age. I know when he was first here, I wasn't, but the stories I heard was about 390-lbs. When I was first got here, he wasn't a starter for the first year but he has really improved himself. His offseason was good, which is the reason I took him to the media days this year is because he had a phenomenal offseason. He was one of our vocal leaders and was in really good shape. His participation was pretty good. Those guys mature. They mature mentally and mature physically. Once they do, they are ready to play. Feigt is the same way. Him and Feigt were both backups my first year here, and Feigt has lost about 20-lbs. He is down to about 310-lbs and was up to about 340-lbs at one point. He looks good as well.
On Junior College players, transfers and newcomers being able to become leaders:
Yes, we talked about that last night in our team meeting. Everybody in the whole room can become leaders. If I ask you to define a leader, I would get a hundred different answers in this room. They have to lead themselves first and do everything right, and then they got to play. Once they can get on the field, one of our best leaders may be a guy that plays six snaps a game. It just depends on how you want to define a leader. I think that will happen based on what I've seen today. If we put guys in specific spots to get a lot of playing time, and if they can adjust to how we do things around here, I think that can happen pretty quick.
On having players that were not here last were on the field for the first game:
It is college football. Guys graduate and you move on and replace them. Sometimes you replace a lot of seniors, sometimes you don't. That is not something that I worry about. Every year is different, and you can’t worry about the previous year. If you got a lot of seniors coming back, sometimes it is hard to get them to progress. I'm not losing sleep over the fact we lost a lot of seniors, and we are all excited about coaching the current guys that we have and getting them ready to be the next superstars. You are going to lose guys, you are going to lose starters, you are going to lose guys to the NFL, and you're going to replace them with guys that you can count on and put them in a position to be successful. I think that is where we are at right now and I feel good about where we are at.
On Charles Sims and the feedback from coaches and teammates:
It is all positive. He is a good kid and works hard.
On the running back depth chart:
It is a hard position to play, because you ask them to do so many different things. We have been living on the edge here with not very many of them. It is nice to look out there and see four or five guys that have the potential to all be starters. Whether it is specific packages or a specific year, you are looking at four guys that have started college football games. It makes the competitiveness good. If there is a lot of competitiveness within a room, it is going to make everyone in the room better, and that is what I see right now.
On health issues and incoming players:
You saw the two guys in red. (Adam) Pankey is ahead of schedule with his knee. Shelton Gibson tweaked is knee a couple of weeks ago, and he is progressing as well as possible. (Issac) McDonald is still working through the NCAA Clearinghouse. Nobody has been ruled out. McDonald is working through Clearinghouse issues, (Darrien) Howard is working through Clearinghouse issues and D’Vante Henry, who has been here for a little bit this summer, is working through some personal issues.
On communication in practice:
Communication needs to exist It's one of the things we worked on, it's one of the things we're focusing on. Was it bad? No. Was it Phenomenal? No. Is it where we want it to be? Not yet. We'll keep working on it. It's something that needs to exist every day. If we're not communicating then people don't what would to do, then we've got a problem.
On what Holgorsen saw from Clint Trickett:
He's good. He's seasoned. He doesn't get nervous. You can tell he's got some game experience. He's right now got the look when he's looking at me on the sidelines and I'm signaling, he just kind of stares right through me, because it's not automatic to him right now, which is to be expected. He threw the ball well, and for a guy who it was his very first practice here, I thought he did well. And again, I'm not judging the specific throws or checks or any of that. I'm just watching them operate. I'm watching them getting the signals and communicating it to the offensive line, and executing the play to where it resembles football, and I thought he did alright there.
On Paul Millard and Ford Childress' improvement:
They have the ability to be able to run the offense and throw the ball, but we're not moving the ball, we're just running plays. So if it's a good play or bad play, we're just moving on to the next one. We'll critique it tonight in film and meetings, but we'll do three a days to where there are no consequences for any of the actions, so to speak, whether it's a good play or bad play. We're just running plays right now to get all of the offense installed. We'll start getting into more situational stuff where they have to understand what the situation is, get us in better plays, and that's where I'll start judging whether they can be the guy or not.
On Trickett's experience and how that translates to West Virginia:
Presence. His presence. You throw a guy in there who is taking snaps in our offense for the first time, and if there is hesitation and panic, nervousness, lack of communication and all that stuff, then we've got a little bit of an issue. I knew he would handle that well. That's not something I'm concerned with, with him. Just by the calmness that he possesses. Ford and Paul possess that calmness right now, too. Because they understand what's going on around them. I think Clint can get in the mix to be the guy, because he has that in his personality.
On the three punters on roster and expectations at special teams:
I pay attention to the specialists when they do well. Or, unfortunately, when they do bad, and then I lose mind on them. We signed Nick O'Toole. (Michael) Molinari has been here for going on three years now. He's a great kid. He's a 4.0 student. He has game experience. But the thing about Nick O'Toole is, you guys saw him, he's a big, impressive looking guy who can flip the field on you in a hurry.
On kicker Josh Lambert and expectations for him this season:
We have a couple more (kickers) who are waiting in the wings. If we need to bring those guys in, we'll bring them in. If we have room to bring them in early, we've talked about bringing them in early. Josh Lambert is our kicker. We feel comfortable with Josh. We feel good about Josh. He is our kicker. Don't know if he is our kickoff guy - we'll figure that one out. But he's our kicker.
On the defense and its improvements since the spring:
I was impressed with their energy. We're so much deeper and so much more experienced, and it shows. The guys were aligned quickly. We had about three-deep repping out there. I can't remember ever having one and a half deep last year. It seems like we're a lot deeper. We've got a lot more people in position that have taken snaps here in past and there is a lot of competition battles going on. With the guys maturing and then new guys coming that look like they have a chance to get in position and play pretty quickly. I really like how they flew around, and I liked how they communicated and I liked how they got lined up so quickly.
On last year and the team's depth on defense:
Do we have to talk about last year? I'd rather talk about 2013. We all understand the situation we were in last year, we're not going to keep focusing on what happened defensively in 2012. It's a lot of the same people, who are now a year older. It's really pretty close to the same system, and we have a lot more depth. So I'm pretty excited about where we're at.
On what the staff looks at when reviewing today's practice film:
More assignments than anything else. Without pads, you really can't focus on what their technique is. You can with some receiver and some defensive back stuff but with the line of scrimmage, in the trenches stuff, it's hard to focus on the technique, physicality, effort and all that stuff. We focus more on assignments, lining up in the right spot and going to the right spots. It will probably remain that way for a couple of days, before we really start teeing it up.
On the health of the team:
The only two guys who are limited are the two I talked about. The rest of those guys are in the full swing of things.
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