MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Assistant coaches and players of the West Virginia University football team addressed members of the media Tuesday night. The Mountaineers travel to TCU Saturday, Nov. 2, to face the Horned Frogs at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Assistant Coach (Offensive Coordinator) Shannon Dawson
On the TCU defense
Coach Gary Patterson has been the same for as long as he’s been there. He’s probably one of the best defensive minds out there in the country. It’s the same as we saw last year. You can consider them similar to us with where they’re at. They’ve been in every game and they’ve had the chances to win the games, but they have just been losing. We are similar teams, but offensively we need to score more points in order to win. We can’t score 12 points and beat many people. Same with last week with Kansas State - you know where they are going to line up, they won’t try to trick you at all. Gary Patterson isn’t going to come in with a different scheme every time. It comes down to execution. Hopefully we can do a better job this week; we need to prepare better and get the players ready to play.
On the lack of second-half execution
I don’t think we executed well all game - I think that was kind of masked by the fact that the defense played well. We got down near the red zone twice and didn’t score. We are big on finishing the drives and finish everything. There’s a million different factors of why we didn’t execute. To say we executed for three quarters would be a lie, as we only scored 12 points.
On the importance of this week’s game
Whoever wins this game is going to go to a bowl game. Whoever loses is likely not going to go to a bowl game.
On playing on the road again
We just need to find a way to play four good quarters. It doesn’t matter whether we are on the road or at home. The last two games that we were in at the start of the fourth quarter, one was at home and one was on the road. Texas Tech we couldn’t wrap up in the fourth quarter. Kansas State we had them all game, but seven plays on third down, they kept us on the field, so we need to get off the field on third down. The offense needs to stay on the field on third down as well to give us a chance to win the game.
On finishing in the last four games
We have to win these four games. We try to treat every week as its own season. We try to put everything we have into each game.
On the relationship between himself and the receiving corps
Our main core guys that we have out there, I trust them pretty equally. Some do different things better than the others. Say with (Jordan Thompson
), I’m not going to throw him any jump balls, but he does certain things better than Kevin (White) or Ronald (Carswell) do.
On his rushing touchdown
It was awful if you watched it on film. I did a half-slide, half-fall. Ford (Childress) was busting my chops for it. I was a little dazed after the play, so I really didn’t get to cherish it much.
On picking up the offensive scheme
We’ve been working on some minor details. Having the whole offseason and the spring will help. I’m a first-year quarterback in the system and things like missing the scheme are going to happen. It’s my job to make it less stressful. I’m trying to do it week in and week out. I’m excited for the spring and to get a full year under my belt.
Assistant Coach (Defensive Coordinator) Keith Patterson
On the defense's struggles
I think what it boils down to is confidence. We need to play to win, and not play just hoping to win and that something good is going to happen to us. That is how I have felt over the past couple of weeks. Instead of going out there and trying to take the win, we have played flat. We need to go out with confidence and take the win. If we do that over the last couple of weeks, then we will have a chance to win.
On what coaches are telling the defense
You have to just say, look, here is what we have done wrong. Let's go out and correct it. We have a clean slate, so what we have done to this point really does not matter. We need to finish these last four games and keep getting better. Let's put it in the left lane and see what happens.
On players trying to do too much
I can't really put a thumb on it. Sometimes, yes, they are trying to do too much. I do not know what it was. If you ask them what happened and why would you not peel that running back, they just look at you. Sometimes you just get caught up in the game. Things happen so fast and you just get caught in the moment. You are playing so hard every play then all of a sudden it hits you. It comes down to making sure you can focus and win the game.
On seniors being leaders
I think that the seniors have been good all year. We have gotten great leadership on defense from (safety) Darwin Cook
, (defensive lineman) Shaq Rowell
and (defensive lineman) Will Clarke
, primarily. They have been the most consistent in providing that leadership. We are down to four games, and we are trying to get them to start over. We are telling them that they have four more opportunities to finish on a good note.
On starting fresh for the last four games
We are trying to move on from the good, the bad and everything from the past. We are looking to approach it as it is a four game season now, and put everything on the line. We need to win out in order to give our season a chance.
On forgetting some of the positives from earlier
I feel like we want to go back to camp and to our initial thoughts on this season. We did some good things during the first five games, but we want to do better than that. We do not want that to be the standard, we want to do better than that. We did not achieve our goals. If we do, our goals will put us in the best chance to win.
On confidence on the defense
I can feel that we have lost some confidence. We have not been playing like we know we can. On film, just from last game, we played really well in the first half. We looked to be back to how we know we can play. Then, we do not know what happened in the second half. We did not come out with the same intensity or confidence to finish the game. We need to get back to how we started the season.
On adjusting positions on the offensive line
It is pretty easy to go between guard and center. Obviously, the major difference is having to snap the ball. Other than that, it is pretty much the same. The assignments once the ball is snapped are very similar. Another big difference at center is that you are making all the calls for the line, which is a big responsibility. You need to make sure everyone is on the same page as you are. If you do not do that, than the play will not work, and it can lead to losing games. It can be stressful at center, but as long as the quarterback gets me the play, then I have 10-12 seconds to communicate it to the line.
On stepping in at center when redshirt senior offensive lineman Pat Eger went down
You just need to know your role at any given time. You always need to know the responsibilities, and be ready to go when the opportunity calls. That is the kind of stuff you learn with the job. In practice, we generally split the reps 50-50. Obviously he is starting, but we both are ready to play at any time.
On taking a redshirt year
It is a big adjustment from high school to college. In the offensive line position I think it is definitely needed. It is a very physical position to play. It was much needed to be able to compete with not 18-year old boys but with 20-year old men. Taking a redshirt definitely helped.