Dana Holgorsen News Conference
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen previews Saturday's Georgia State game during his weekly Tuesday afternoon news conference at Milan Puskar Stadium:
Moving on to Georgia State, we are excited about the opportunity to go out there and be on track this weekend. About the game at Oklahoma, the locker room I thought was not positive, but they did seem eager to get back to work. We had a good practice on Sunday night. It was good in the weight room today. I think they’re ready to get back out to work and use this as an opportunity to get better on all three sides of the ball. They’re going to be put in that situation again, it may be this week. We are going to be put in that situation again, where we have a chance to go and take the game, whether it’s at home or on the road. We have a lot of football ahead of us, and our guys are eager and excited about getting better to the point that when they get put into that situation again, they can capitalize on it and get a victory.
On the injuries incurred against Oklahoma
It was a physical game. We told them all week that it was going to be physical. There’s going to be injuries in every game you play. We knew both teams were going to run the ball a good bit. It’s no surprise that we got banged up a little bit. K.J. Dillon has a little bit of a knee issue, he’s day-to-day. Doug Rigg is fine. He’s still a little foggy, but he’s going to be fine. He’s day-to-day, and he will be questionable. We haven’t ruled anyone else out.
On the depth chart changes at different positions
It’s no different than at quarterback. People look at quarterbacks from the beginning until the end of the play. But guys are going to be put into different situations, and we want to see how they react. The only way you can see that is by putting guys into those places. I think we are closer on offense, but I accept full responsibility for seven points. I don’t care who we are playing, it’s embarrassing. I’ve got the utmost respect for Bob and Mike Stoops, but that being said, seven points is embarrassing, and we need to fix it. We need to do a better job of putting guys into a position to make plays. There’s potential on offense, and that word disturbs me. I don’t like it very much, but there is potential on offense. A lot of people talk about how talented we are, even guys on our team talk about how talented we are. We need to prove that, we need to make some plays. You need to make plays when you are put into those situations, and if you don’t, we will try and put some other guys in those situations. We will get better offensively. We have gotten better defensively. At center, Pat (Eger) has been playing really well, as good as I’ve seen him play. He’s one of the few very vocal leaders we have on offense, he deserves to start.
On Georgia State as a program
They’re a young program. They’ve been playing for seven years. Bill Curry started that program up. They’re transitioning into I-A. They have a great recruiting base It’s Trent Miles’ first season there. He turned around Indiana State, while being there for four or five years, to the point that they were a pretty good FCS team. He takes the Georgia State job in its seventh year of football, and transitions them to the Sun Belt Conference. In the CAA last year, they didn’t have a tremendous record, but they played a lot of good teams. I’ve talked about the CAA to our team, and we know what they’re all about with William and Mary, and what Towson has been doing, and James Madison, so they play good football. I think they will continue to get better. If Miles did it at Indiana State, I assume he can do it at Georgia State.
On the receiving corps
They have potential. After watching William & Mary, I was convinced that we had the slowest receiving corps in the country. When we put Ronnie (Ronald Carswell) in there it looked different. We didn’t have Kevin (White) services throughout camp. He was having a great spring, and having a great camp, and then he’s out for three weeks. He showed a little of what he can do last week. He looked like he was playing at a different level than some of the other guys out there. Mario, (Alford) we just have to keep giving reps, we didn’t have him for three weeks of practice. When we put him in there, he runs at a different speed. With those three guys, I’m not starting them, because I hope they can make plays, I’ve seen them make plays. If those other guys want to rep, they need to prove that they can make a play and provide a tremendous amount of effort.
On giving other receivers and players the opportunity to play against Georgia State
All of the guys have played in the games. Last week was a pretty good opponent, a pretty awesome atmosphere. It was a challenging situation for our guys, and they will learn from it. They were not intimidated, we played with tremendous effort, and we competed hard. Some guys showed signs of weakness, but some guys showed signs of life. They are all going to play. You can’t go into a game and expect to play three receivers. What we are trying to do is to figure out who deserves how many reps. With quarterback, you don’t want to go into as many games as you can and play all three of them. You just have put them in those situations and see how they react.
On working with the quarterbacks this week
We will see how their attitudes are. Meeting is at 2:30, and we will see how they are in warm-ups. We can’t put two of them out there at once so someone’s name has to be called, they’ll have to go out, and we will see how they do. The difference with where we are at now is that Ford (Childress) will have reps, and he hasn’t had reps in the past three weeks.
On the position changes at linebacker after injuries
With injuries, we are pretty thin. Isaiah (Bruce) got nicked up, but he’s fine and day-to-day. Marvin Gross got a lot of game experience, he needs to continue to get better. Tyler Anderson gives us reps. Nick Kwiatkoski had another really good game. Jared Barber gets reps. We have bodies there. Brandon Golson had two sacks. He’s going to get better and better. We moved (Eric) Kinsey to the outside, just because he can do things off the edge. Because of our lack of depth with losing Doug, we had to move Tyler back inside, which opened up a spot to put Kinsey there. Plus Kyle Rose has emerged as a guy who we feel can be a starter. I wouldn’t view it as a troublesome lack of depth. You always lose guys to injury, and I expect every one of those guys to be back, with the exception of Dozie (Ezemma). It’s football, and you’re going to have to play through those things.
On finding a balance on offense between the run and pass game
It all depends on what the defense does. We ran it so much more against William & Mary, because we had the numbers to do so. Oklahoma had one more guy in the box every time we snapped the ball. So how much sense would it make to run it against unblocked people? Dreamius (Smith)’s one run was great, but he also ran over two people, you aren’t going to continuously run over people. Our pass game was better schemed, and we had more open guys than we did last year. We just didn’t do a good job of getting them the ball on those plays. I thought the game was called well.
On how he feels about the Oklahoma game result, while he feels the game was called well
I feel like crap honestly. It goes back to that on offense. We have the potential to better than we were last year. Does that mean we are better than last year, or are going to be better than last year? No. It just means we have the potential to be.
On running the screen pass against Oklahoma and the future
We were really close. My opinion on screens is that when you get teams that charge up the field, and Oklahoma did, you have a chance to hit screens on them. We threw one to Kevin, and he got 10 yards. The one Ivan (McCartney) missed, he might have scored. You’re one block away, you’re a split second away with timing. We were close on a bunch of them. It was just something different on each one. That’s my responsibility. We have to rep it, and we have to get those guys into the position to make the plays, but we have to rep it and coach it. Those minor details we were missing, we have to coach those in order to accomplish it.
On if Dreamius Smith would be on the field more if he blocked better
He’s on the field a good bit. He plays a lot. I know a lot of people are upset with only three carries, and I want him to get the ball more too. We are rotating guys to get fresh bodies out there. I rarely rotate them and call plays based on who is in the game. I just call plays, because I have confidence in all those guys carrying the ball. If Dreamius gets out there, and he whiffs three times like he did, he’s coming out of the game, and he knows that. His one run was spectacular, but you can’t turn around and miss a block and get the quarterback hit, and have a turnover. You have to do the little things, and blocking is more important than running people over.
On what QB Paul Millard did well on Saturday
His communication was good, with the exception of the fourth quarter, which was bad. I don’t know if it was the heat of the game, the pressure, or the crowd, but the communication between me and him was not good in the fourth quarter. Up until that point it was ok. His performance was ok. The continuity between him and the receivers was just not there, and it needed to be there.
On the rotation of players on the offensive line
I’m happy with that. Ron (Crook) does a great job of rotating people in there. We can get (Nick) Kindler in there, and he helps Quinton Spain take a step back and catch a breath, and he does the same thing for (Curtis) Feigt on the other side. Eger can play in all three spots. Tyler (Orlosky) will be fine, he’s a redshirt freshman, he’s a little undersized. The guy he went against was a good player. He physically got outmanned a little bit. On one of those fumbles, he got lit up a bit. He’s not hurt, he’ll play. Pat Eger has no problem going from center to guard, and then we can put Tyler back in at center. I expect that to continue.
On moving Russell Haughton-James to tight end in the Oklahoma game
We were ok with him on a few tight end sets. And we didn’t want to run a two tight end set without a third option. We have Cody Clay, we have Garrett Hope, if something were to happen to one of those guys, what’s your alternative? Russell is a backup guard, he’s our eighth lineman, but he’s athletic enough to where he can handle that on the edge, and he did a decent job.
On how he thinks the defense played against Oklahoma
They played alright, it was just average. Coach Patterson was explaining our board to them earlier with our goals, and with the goal on the end (the result of the game), we did not meet that goal. We would’ve had to hold them to six points to meet that goal. As crazy as that sounds, I understand that, but the way I view that and the way I portray that to our defensive guys is, you guys did a great job, your effort was tremendous, you got four turnovers, but you were the second best defense on the field. I think that resonated with them. If you want to be a dominating defense, and we were not on Saturday, we would’ve had to hold them to six points. It’s all about winning the game. I’m happy with their progress; I’ve said that since camp. I think they are farther along with their progress than any time since I’ve been here. I think Keith (Patterson) is doing a great job, and he will be the first person to tell you that we are far from where we can be defensively.
West Virginia Mountaineers, WVU football, Big 12 Conference, Dana Holgorsen
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