Dana Holgorsen News Conference
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen addressed members of the media this afternoon.
Iowa State is the best 2-9 team in the country. They’re an extremely competitive football team. They are what they usually are, which is incredibly coached. They have a tough outfit. They’re extremely sound with their schemes. It will be a tremendous challenge for us as it is every week in the Big 12.
They’ve found their routine offensively. Their quarterback, a redshirt-freshman, is doing a lot of good things. They’re doing a lot with him. They have a couple receivers and running backs that they get it to a lot, and they look good. They have a huge offensive line. They’re really good.
They’re very well coached, and they don’t try to trick you. It’s one of the more simple schemes in the country, but it’s hard. They’re tough. They have some linebackers that are tremendous football players.
They are going to try to take away the run. It seems like there’s a lot of Big 12 schools going this way. Over the last couple years there have been a lot of zone blitzes. It seems like it’s going more toward the man coverage. Their return units are really good. We watched that today with the guys. They’ve given up a little bit in their coverage units. They have a great punter, who doesn’t have the numbers from last year, but is still a good player.
They are coming off some tough losses this year and will probably have a lot more confidence coming into this game. They’re going to come in here and try to take us.
I’ve been telling the guys since the Kansas game that this time of the year, it doesn’t matter who you play. You have to play tough, strong and be in the game.
On the response to the Kansas loss
We will find out if they refocused. We got over Kansas the next day. In this game you can’t dwell on losses, you can’t sit there and wallow in it. You can’t celebrate victories longer than 12 hours. Last week was a big developmental week. We focused on academics, and this week we don’t have any of that or anything socially.
It’s been all about Iowa State for a few days. I’ve been happy about how the guys are preparing.
I met with the scout team and gave them a lot of reps, but developments will be seen over time. We will see that over the next couple months, but it definitely wasn’t bad to see them for three days.
On Big 12 upsets
(The upsets are) just parity in college football. It happens all the time. If you look back at when we went to the Orange Bowl, there were some Big East upsets, too. You have to prepare like it’s important to you every week because anything could happen. There’s no way to explain it.
On Iowa State
They will try to take the run away and we will try to take theirs away. We’ve had relative success with that. There’s a trend where a lot of teams’ rushing yards are coming from their quarterbacks. A lot of rushing yards Iowa State is giving up are from quarterbacks. We obviously don’t have that ability right now. We’re not going to try to get 300 yards rushing with the quarterback. We’re going to do what we do, which is try to establish the run.
On the quarterback situation
It won’t be (redshirt-freshman quarterback) Ford Childress. He’s just not ready. We’re just going to let him sit there and use him as we need to. We are repping the other two (junior quarterback Paul Millard and redshirt-junior quarterback Clint Trickett) right now. They’re taking 50 percent of the reps. They’re not a whole lot different than they were two weeks ago.
They’ve both done well. They’re trying hard and practicing well. They’re competing. They want to get better. I feel like we can win with either one. Trickett has proven he can win some Big 12 games. Millard is working on the scheme and what we want him to do, and he’s progressing.
I’m the first to say that we haven’t had a winning offensive performance this season. That’s all on me. All the dynamics combined haven’t completed a winning effort. That’s something that will get addressed in the offseason. Just point the fingers at me. We know the guys are trying hard.
Continuity is the biggest thing. I don’t anticipate ever being in this situation again. New guys, new coaches, etc. - I don’t anticipate this happening ever again.
There are 14 guys leaving us this year, and I appreciate them. They’re a collection of guys that have been through a lot of adversity. They’ve been through coaching changes and conference changes, and I appreciate everything they’ve gone through. I’m proud of how they’re doing academically. They’ve all gotten their degree or are getting close to it.
Our job as coaches and players is to go out Saturday and put our best foot forward. This year is different because there’s not a bowl game, so this is the last week we will spend together. We have to make it count.
On redshirt-senior running back Charles Sims
Charles has been able to endure four long seasons and a lot of touches and a lot of ball games. He’s handled it unbelievably. Freshman running back Wendell (Smallwood), as a true freshman, is no different. He’s used Sims being in that room to his advantage. He sees how he attacks the game, his work ethic and how he practices. Seeing the versatility that he plays with is going to help him a lot.
A lot of people have some receivers that they stick in the back, but we have something special with him because he can do a little bit of everything. That’s pretty impressive.
(Redshirt-senior safety) Darwin Cook, (redshirt-sophomore linebacker) Isaiah Bruce and (freshman cornerback Daryl) Worley are questionable. Trickett is cleared.
(Junior linebacker Jared) Barber had surgery yesterday. (Sophomore defensive lineman) Christian Brown will be back in January. (Freshman safety) Malik Greaves went down with a hip injury. It’s his redshirt year, but that keeps him from developing.
(Sophomore cornerback) Ricky Rumph is back. They did the MRI on him to make sure, and he will be fine.
On what coach Holgorsen is thankful for
I’m thankful for the seniors. I’m thankful for the Big 12. It’s challenging, but we’re relevant and we’re learning a lot about ourselves as far as being in a power conference. We’re going to be extremely competitive. We are a better team than we were last year, minus one or two guys.
I’m thankful to be where we’re at, and I’m looking forward to moving forward.
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