Dana Holgorsen News Conference
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen addressed members of the media today in a press conference.
I can’t tell you how excited our team is to play Maryland this week. We got going on Sunday and immediately put the Georgia State game to rest. It’s something our boys are looking forward to. We don’t have many regional rivalries left- this is the only one that we play this year. I look forward to meeting more in the future.
Our guys are familiar with Maryland, and we’re excited to play them. They’re a different team than they were the last couple years. You can see offensively that it’s a different unit with (senior quarterback) C.J. Brown. He’s had a good year so far and brings balance to the offense. He’s very athletic and has athletic guys around him. They want to be balanced in the run and the pass. They have two good running backs in (sophomores) Albert Reid and Brandon Ross. They have tremendous play potential and it will be a huge challenge for our defense to stop those guys.
Coach (Randy) Edsall emphasizes defense. They stopped us last year. They got a lot of new bodies from last year, but they did a tremendous job stopping us last time. It wasn’t one of our better performances of last season. We struggled to get first downs and score. It’s the same scheme. They’ve got depth and players who started a lot of games last year.
It will be a challenge for us because of what they do schematically. They know our offense very well. We have to contain their returners. They have good overall team speed which is very beneficial to special teams. When you have a return guy who is as good as anyone in the country, it’s going to be problematic.
The guys are excited about going to Baltimore. It’s important to our administration, and it’s important to our fan base. It’s important to our kids and recruiting. I’m looking forward to playing at Ravens Stadium (M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.) in front of a good crowd and a good atmosphere. It will be good for WVU and Maryland.
On Brod rick Jenkins
Brodrick is no longer with the team. We’re excited about (redshirt-sophomore cornerback) Terrell (Chestnut). His knee has been healing. We’ve wanted to get him more involved. (Redshirt-sophomore cornerback) Avery Williams is also going to get some reps this week at corner. (Freshman cornerback) Daryl Worley played a good bit last week and has got tremendous upside potential as a starting corner. With (sophomore safety) K.J. Dillon, we’ve moved him to the nickel spot. That opens up back up spots at both corner spots. Let’s see how those guys do this week, and we’ll continue to get Daryl in as much as possible.
On the corner position
We haven’t seen the throwing threat that we’re going to see this week. They’ve got big play potential. Look at (sophomore wide receiver Stefon) Diggs, who has 400 yards in three games and three touchdowns, and (redshirt-junior wide receiver Deon) Long who’s got almost 200 yards and a touchdown - this will be a different challenge for us. I’m excited to see how our guys react to it.
Keith (Patterson) has done a great job. Coaches (Tony) Gibson and (Brian) Mitchell have done a great job. Technically, the scheme is the same as last year and they’ve been playing pretty well, but they haven’t been challenges like they’ll be challenged this week.
(Senior linebacker Doug) Rigg and K.J. Dillon will be back this week. They’re cleared, so we’ll see how they’ll practice. They will practice today. (Sophomore defensive lineman) Christian Brown had a minor leg injury and will be back today. He has been cleared. (Sophomore fullback) Garrett Hope had a concussion last week. He has been cleared and will be available. Everybody is available. (Redshirt- freshman offensive lineman) Adam Pankey is getting close to being available. He’s been elevated to green jersey and it’s going to take some time for him to get back in the swing of things, but he’s going to start practicing. No one is ruled out other than the surgery guys.
(Freshman offensive lineman) Tyler Tezeno had surgery on his knee. He was redshirting this year anyway. It will be a six-month rehab process. Tyler, (redshirt-senior linebacker) Dozie Ezemma, (sophomore cornerback) Nana (Kyeremeh) and (junior linebacker) Shaq (Petteway) are the only four out for the year. Everybody else is going to practice. This is as healthy as we’ve been.
On Stefon Diggs
Tavon (Austin) and Diggs are pretty similar. They’re both from Baltimore and receivers and returners. He’s proven to have big play potential. He’s probably a little better at downfield play than Tavon. Tavon didn’t have just the downfield potential. His thing was to get the ball and go score.
On playing at M&T Bank Stadium
It’s easier. The facilities are good and it’s not a 100 percent home crowd. It’s much like the Big East was. When you went to Pitt, West Virginia had a lot of people. When I went to South Florida, there were a bunch of West Virginia people. Facility wise, we know it’s going to be great. We know that from last year at Fed Ex Field. Our guys get jacked up about that. It’s a big stage. Much like Mountaineer Field is, the other nine opponents in the Big 12 have 95 percent fans from their own team. I don’t view this as an away game, it’s more like a neutral site game. I know it is a home game for Maryland, but I feel like we’ll travel pretty well and there will be some Mountaineer energy there.
On (redshirt-junior linebacker) Jewone Snow
The last two weeks, he’s been functional on the scout team. We’re going to give him some opportunity to play on some special teams and see how he reacts.
On Daryl Worley
He would start as cornerback if (redshirt- junior cornerbacks) Ishmael Banks and (Travis) Bell weren’t doing well. They’ve been playing well. They haven’t been as challenged as they’re going to be this week.
He’s the next guy in, yes, and he looks good. He brings energy and does some things out there athletically that I don’t see happening very often. He’s got loads of potential. Could he be an every down player? Yes. Whether it happens this year or next year, he will be one. He will be a tremendous corner for us.
We’d like to get K.J. Dillon back in to play nickel if Worley would make that transition. Having them both on the field would bring a tremendous amount of athleticism to our team at those spots.
I probably shouldn’t compliment anybody. I say that jokingly, but Daryl has been playing well. He was out special teams guy one week. We made reference to him because he’s extremely attentive. He asks questions, he listens well and he’s eager to get into the game.
I don’t think our energy was great last week. I thought our sidelines were dead. I didn’t see any passion for the game. I do anticipate that will be fixed this week.
On (redshirt-freshman quarterback) Ford Childress
He needs to improve on sense of urgency. He’s night and day better right now than he was a year ago. That said, his sense of urgency needs to pick up because the speed of the game is going to increase. Maryland has great team speed. He needs to make reads quicker and his footwork and release need to be quicker. That’s just experience. You can’t duplicate game experience. We put him in a lot of different situations, but that game was different from what he’d ever done. This week will be different from what he’s ever done.
He was better at reading than I anticipated. He did a tremendous job of selling run. Being able to run the ball puts us in a better spot when it comes to play action. He underthrew a couple of them, or it would’ve been even better. They were playing down. They were doing their best to stop the run. Ford did a good job of selling that and putting the ball out there to where we could take advantage of it.
I would assume Maryland will do the same thing. They do a good job of stopping the run. Whether or not they have to get their safeties involved, I hope they do. We need to be able to run the ball and play action it and make plays down the field.
I think Ford having the ability to see over the line is important. He’s 6-foot-5. He has the ability to look over the line and downfield and see where the guys are at. I just want the ball to go from point A to point B effectively. He could improve on that, but his action was good.
On Maryland’s defense
They’re going to pressure. One of the things we didn’t do well last week was identifying the zero blitz. We need enough time to get rid of the ball. They did it six times, got to us twice and hit us twice, and we did the right thing twice. That’s not good enough. Maryland will zero blitz us and pressure us. They might do it every single snap. If they do, we have to handle it. They played back against Old Dominion because they don’t run the ball. I think we’ve shown that we can run the ball and I think they’ll play up.
On (redshirt-senior offensive lineman) Pat Eger
It’s not tough for him to read the defense. He can handle it more than anybody. It’s just an overall communication issue with coaches and players. We identified some things that we need to change, and we have and will continue to improve this week.
On the run game
We’re doing it more effectively. There were times last year that we were running the ball 50 percent of the time. If we had this rushing impact throughout the hard part of our schedule last year, things might have turned out a little bit different. We’re happy with that and will keep working hard at that. We’ve got tremendous confidence in our backs and their ability to break tackles, and the o-line can get some push.
On the WVU receivers
I’m not happy with them yet. I specifically said ‘I’m going to start these three guys because they show big play potential.1’
Did we see that out of those three guys? Not out of all of them, so that’s why I said I’m going to start getting (redshirt-sophomore) KJ (Myers), (freshman) Daikiel (Shorts) and (senior) Ivan (McCartney) in there more. I’m proud of them. KJ came in and was Mr. Consistency. They’re all going to play. How much they play will depend of efficiency and productivity on the field.
On the WVU defense
We haven’t faced the passing attempt like this yet. Do we feel better about where we are defensively? Yes, absolutely. Do we have it all figured out? No. Maryland is going to bring some bigger challenges. They have the ability. Oklahoma State and Baylor, our next two opponents, are also going to have a lot of ability. So this will be the game where we see where we are at.
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