Dana Holgorsen - Practice Update 2
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen addressed members of the media today in a press conference.
There’s not much to update at this point. We have had three practices; the first padded practice is on Tuesday. Not full pads, because we can’t be in full pads until tomorrow. They have been running around for three and a half months without pads. Putting those on will bog them down a bit. We ended Saturday with a lot of energy, which was good to see. We gave the players off yesterday as a recovery day. We had a lot of meetings yesterday and this morning which were very essential with our progress right now. This afternoon we will get into another practice with some pads before tomorrow, which will be full pads and a lot more contact. I do think there is a lot of competition at every spot, which is something that we are excited about coming into camp. There are a lot of returning players, along with the guys that we added, and that creates a lot of position battles, which is exciting to see.
On the position battles within the offensive line
One of our guys gave out a temporary depth chart, with a starting lineup, but we will keep adjusting that. For instance, Pat Eger and Nick Kindler are acting and playing like starters, which is going to create depth. They are two swing guys right now that can play either one of the tackle spots. (Quinton) Spain and (Curtis) Feigt have both gotten their bodies in phenomenal shape, but Kindler is not going to concede the battle to them. We have three centers that have not played a lot of ball here. Stone (Underwood) is learning and has a long way to go. (Tony) Matteo is snapping the ball well - he’s a freshman, and (Tyler) Orlosky is a freshman. We just need to keep working to see who is going to win that job.
On how leaders emerges within the team
We’ve talked a lot about that with our group. We started last Wednesday with that subject. You can’t really find the definition of a leader on the team. It’s not the same every year. We have to develop leaders. It was a big issue on last year’s team, in a bad way. We need to develop leadership and develop the guys so we know who to count on. Everybody on the team has the capabilities to be a leader. It starts with leading yourself and doing things right on and off the field. You have to get yourself in position to make plays as well. Then you can step up and make those plays. It doesn’t have to be the quarterback. I told all three of the quarterbacks now that they’re not going to be in any leadership groups with me because they have other things to worry about. They have to work on being better as a quarterback and being the starter.
On the leadership issues from last season
I don’t want to expand on that. I’ve said before that we do not want to focus on 2012. We have lessons that we can take from last year and use this year. There were examples of it throughout last year, with a variety of people. We can take those lessons as things we do not want to happen this year.
On installing the offense
It didn’t look good (the first three days of install). We got through it. I’m happy with the communication on the three days. Same thing on defense - we are happy with the communication and the attentiveness. Right now, we are playing about three or four guys per position. Obviously that has to get narrowed down to a two-deep. Even more so than spring ball, you are playing guys that will not be playing in games. We will go through it three more times over the next three days, and that’s not even in a live setting. We went through it with the quarterbacks as well. We are evaluating them on how they run plays and how they communicate. In all the position battles, it’s about getting players in positions where they just know what to do.
On how competition affects depth
We are fortunate to have a bunch of bodies right now. You develop a two-deep system and let players fight it out, which benefits everyone.
On meeting with Big 12 officials
Today some Big 12 officials are coming in. Due to scheduling we would’ve liked to have them on Saturday, but they’ll be here later today. This has happened in previous years as well. The big topic of discussion will be targeting. We don’t know what to expect with that. We will have a few of those guys talk to the team this afternoon, helping them get a better understanding of the rule. It’s a similar presentation that they gave in Dallas to the Big 12 media. It’s an open discussion; some guys are going to agree with it, some are not. They will do their best to explain it, and we will ask questions. We are just going to line up and play ball. There will be some times where it will get called and we won’t agree with it, which is similar to every other penalty.
On how the targeting rule will play out this season
I don’t think it will be as big of a deal as people believe it will be, much like the celebration rule was two years ago and the helmet rule last year. Is it going to happen? I think so. In the grand scheme of things, it will probably happen a minimal amount. If it happens to a guy who is not a high profile player, it won’t be an issue. If it happens to a player like Karl Joseph in the second half against William and Mary, and he’s ejected, and then he can’t play the first half against Oklahoma, people will make a big deal about it. We will do our best to educate them on the rule, but I don’t think it will be that big of a deal this year.
On if he feels the rule is a good addition to college football
I’m tired of talking about it. If you focus on it so much and we curb their aggression, then I’m not going to be happy about it. It’s football, it’s supposed to be aggression and big hits. But for safety reasons I understand why the rule is out there and why we need to educate our players. We have to make sure that guys aren’t trying to leave their feet and spear people in the head.
On preventing players from being comfortable with their standing in the depth chart
That’s why there is no depth chart. We brought in a bunch of guys to keep positions competitive. With the running backs, we have four players who have all started college football games. That’s the way we want it. The more guys that will step up, become competitive and get better because of it, will make us better as a whole.
On the depth at safety
We are not very deep at safety - it’s similar to what we had last year. Karl Joseph and Darwin Cook are playing well. Looking at it this year, we have Cook, (K.J.) Dillon, Joseph and a lot of young guys. Jarrod Harper, Malik Greaves and Jeremy Tyler are not ready to play yet and have to keep improving. For us to get better depth wise, those guys have to get better. After (a few) practices, I’m not prepared to say that they are ready.
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