Dana Holgorsen - Practice Update 3
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen addressed the media today, August 8.
We had a good practice yesterday. The first two-a-day was yesterday. Two-a-days are not like they used to be anywhere in the country. We had an hour-and-a-half practice in the morning with helmets and then went out yesterday afternoon, and for the first time in a long time, I don’t think it has ever happened here, we utilized all three of our fields because of the weather. It did not affect our guys at all. We started outside and were out there for an hour but then it rained a lot so we went inside. When it cleared up we went back outside because we can't do live team drills on the inside. It did not phase our guys at all, which I’m proud that they were able to adjust from that and got a lot done.
On the first full-contact practice
It was good. We have had two full days of pads. We did the Oklahoma drill, which has been tradition around here and a lot of other places. It was exciting to see those guys get it all cranked up and is good way to get started. When they do put the pants on, it is a good way to start it. For the last two days we have been full pads. There is a lot you can do when you are just in shells - you aren't going to do it too much different. We have not tackled yet and drills have looked the same the last two days than they have the previous two days with just shoulder pads. We will start today with a little bit of tackling. Today will be the first day that we put them in situational-type stuff. We will start introducing some third down and red zone stuff. It won't be the whole practice of course, but a portion of it we will start tackling to see if guys can actually tackle and to see offensively if we can move the ball.
On the Oklahoma drill
We had the discussion with some of our coaches if we can please change the name of this drill - what makes them so special? It is just the drill and is known around the country as the Oklahoma drill. I am sure some people have changed the name, but we haven’t come up with another name.
On evaluating players
We have been evaluating since day one. I tell these guys that everything is filmed and evaluated. I can't tell you if we have made decisions - even if we have I would not tell you. We are evaluating these guys with everything that they do, whether it is padded, non-padded, guys being in the right positions, if they are catching the ball, getting up field, if their ball security is good, if defensively we are stripping it, communicating and all the rest of it. We are evaluating constantly, not to the point we are making decisions, but the situational drill will separate players, especially quarterbacks. When we get into situations and they are able to handle them, and they are able to get us in good situations and execute it, from a quarterback point of view, that will help us separate who is one, two and three. Then defensively, when you go live, it is (seeing if) can you get them on the ground or can you not get them on the ground, from a tackling point of view.
On deciding who is one, two or three at quarterback and when a decision will be made
We have nine more afternoon practices before we break camp. I do not anticipate doing anything before that. We have started narrowing it down from where instead of 33 percent of the reps of the skeleton and team, we are going 50 percent of the reps with skeleton and team. Today, we will pick two quarterbacks and they will get 50 percent each and then tomorrow it will be two different quarterbacks. They will all still get equal reps over the nine practices, but they will start getting 50 percent, and 50 percent of the 50 percent will be with first team and second teams. It will be 100 percent equal for the next nine practices, and then we will make the decision. I do not know if I will tell you or not. We probably want everyone to be in the dark like everybody else does, but we won't go into the first game without a clue of who is going to be the first guy.
On the media and fans not knowing who the quarterback is until the first play
I would be surprised if you don't know. With social media, and we try to get our guys to keep as much what happens inside the building to the people that need to know, but with social media and emotions, I would be surprised if you don't know. It depends on how clear cut it is. If it is really close, then we are going to keep it as close to the vest as we can. If it is clear-cut, then we will probably let you know. If it is that close, it makes my job harder. It is no different here than it is anywhere else in the country. If you get one, two or three quality guys in a position battle, than obviously at some point you have to make a decision. The closer it is the harder it is. Those decisions are not easy when you are talking about who is going to play and not going to play. It affects kids' lives. These are guys that are working hard, and someone is going to be the guy and somebody is not. It is hard to deal with if you are not the guy.
On two quarterbacks as an option
I have never done it and do not plan on doing it. It does not mean that we cannot have two that are ready to play. Guys get hurt and go down all the time. That is a reality in college football, and that is one thing that the second team guy always has to keep in mind. They are a play away from getting in and playing a lot of ball.
On quarterbacks being similar
They are similar enough, and that has always been my philosophy. If you look back on it, our offense has not changed very much from Case Keenum to Brandon Weeden, and they were two different guys.
On offensive line getting to know who the quarterback is
I think it matters. When you are in the huddle, under center and the guy communicating, the trust factor, leadership qualities and the belief that this guy is going to get it done makes a big difference.
Clint Trickett adjusting from Florida State’s cover-based to West Virginia’s progression-based offensive differences
There are a lot of differences. What he's looking at is important, whether it's pre-snap coverage or post-snap coverage. Or, whether it's receivers adjusting routes due to coverage, it takes some film and a lot of clinic time to be able to get into the details of that. But there are some differences with that. There are some differences with the drops. To the fan, as you're just watching it, a lot of the offensive stuff looks the same, but to the actual details to what they are, there are going to be differences everywhere. What we're asking him (Clint) to do is different. He's got game experience. He's got quarterback experience. But what we're asking him to do in our offense is different. He's got to adjust to that. He's a smart kid, he's a bright kid and he's very intuitive. He's got a good feel for the game, which is going to put him in position to be able to beat out guys that have been taking snaps in our offense for the past two to three years. It's a credit to him that he's in the race.
On defensive coordinator Keith Patterson's ability to stop Big 12 offenses
That's why he's been hired. The 3-4 defense is perimeter oriented. With the nuts and bolts with what we've always done offensively, it has been perimeter oriented - not just being able to throw the ball down field or run between the tackles when there are not enough people in the box, but being able to get the ball on the perimeter to where the defense has to cover the whole field. You have to go sideline to sideline and be able to go backward to be able to go down the field if you had to, as well. It about us offensively making them defend the whole field. I think he's got an excellent plan for being able to do that. He's get the tempo stuff.
I went against him for four years. He's been here with us two years, so it's about six years straight that he's been preparing for an offense that is very similar to ours; for several of those years, specifically for ours. If you look at what everyone is doing in the Big 12, it's very spread oriented, it's very tempo oriented and there is obviously a lot of similarity in what we do and what everyone else in the Big 12 does. He's very familiar with it.
On if Patterson has a plan on slowing down tempo
I hope so, because everybody tempos. How do you stop tempo? Well, you get lined up – it's the key. If you can get lined up and get calls communicated in a very short time, it gives you a chance to be successful. I think he has a pretty good plan for it.
On the effect of having to play Oklahoma and Oklahoma State early in the season
You have to play them sooner or later, so when you play them, I don't know if that matters. There are going to be some teams, especially experienced teams, that are going to be a little better early, and the inexperienced teams, if they have the pieces in place, they should gradually get better and be a little bit better at the end of the year. I would assume pretty much everyone is going to be a little bit better at the end of the year than they are at the beginning of the year. I don't know yet. I've never played a conference game that early, so my tune on it might change. It's not like it's the first time it's ever happened. We've got to play them game two, and they've got to play us game two. I see it being pretty comparable.
On schedule differences this year with bye weeks and end of season dates
I wish the bye weeks were a little more evenly spread out, but there is nothing I can do about it. The one thing that caught my attention was the end of the year thing, which I've been public about this: this is the first year that we get that first week of recruiting off. Our last game is on (December) first, where other teams play a game the week after. There are eight Big 12 teams who play a game the week after and two who are finished the week before. We're one of the two who are finished early, so we get an extra week of recruiting, which doesn't seem fair to me. It happened when we were in the Big East, as well. This is the first year we get that first week of recruiting and don't have to prepare for a game, for whatever that's worth.
On the injury update
(Sophomore cornerback) Nana (Kyeremeh) is going to have shoulder surgery. He's going to redshirt and have shoulder surgery. He went down. (Junior running back) Dreamius (Smith) hasn't practiced in about three days. He's got a thigh bruise. Hopefully it's nothing major. It should be fine today, obviously that's day-to-day. We thought (running back) Shawne Alston was day-to-day (last year), too, and he ended up missing two months. (Redshirt-sophomore wide receiver) Dante Campbell had shoulder surgery and missed spring. His shoulder popped out again yesterday, so that's unfortunate for him. I don't have an update on him. I don't know if it's another surgical procedure or what, but he didn't practice yesterday, which was unfortunate for him. Other than that, we're pretty healthy.
On Kyeremeh’s injury
It was loose. He went through all of spring with it being loose. It was loose when he got here, and then he played year with it loose. Then, practice two or three, it popped out. We were contemplating surgery with him anyway. We know he has a redshirt year. It's going to end up being good for him. He's going to go ahead and get it fixed right now. Then, he'll be back for spring. He'll redshirt and be back for spring practice, so he'll have three years and be fine.
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