WHEELING, W.Va. – Head coach Dana Holgorsen addressed members of the media Saturday during the Mountaineers open practice at Wheeling Island Stadium.
It’s always fun to come to Wheeling, we’ve had nothing but good times here. I appreciate the good weather. We might come up here every day if the weather is like this. Our guys are excited about this. The idea originated because spring practice gets redundant. To be able to change things up a little bit is good for our guys. It’s got a little bit of a road game feel to it too, being able to go out and practice on the road, in a different environment, ignore the surroundings, and just go out and play ball is really good. Being able to reach out to the people and have them see what our guys are doing is great. They’ve been working extremely hard this offseason and this spring, this will be our sixth practice so it’ll be far from perfect. We look forward to putting a good product out there. It will be a normal practice today. There won’t be a huge scrimmage. Some things will make sense, some will not. Some of the drills you may not know what we are trying to accomplish, but if you bear with us you’ll get a good look at who our guys are and what they are looking like.
On if his expectations for the first five practices have been met
I don’t really know. It’s going to take time. Every practice we learn something new with each guy. We try to put them in as many situations as we can. In a few minutes, we will have Oklahoma drills which is 1-on-1, physical, and we will learn about the toughness of some of the guys. We learn new things about each guy individually every time they step out here.
On the offensive progression
Every time we go through practice we are adding something new. Next week we will add something new. I don’t think the installation process ever ends. You just have to refine everything.
It’s similar to the other players, we try to evaluate them every time they come out. Skyler does some things well. He also struggles with some things as well. Naturally he does a great job of extending the play, which was a problem we had last year at the quarterback spot. Rushel has done a good job. He’s trying to grasp the offense and what he’s doing. Once we get these guys to the point where they aren’t thinking about what they are doing, that’s when they’ll be good. The guys like Karl Joseph
and KJ Dillon know what they are doing. Those guys aren’t thinking about what they need to do, so they are able to react a lot better. Kevin White
, Mario Alford
, Dreamius Smith
and Adam Pankey
all know what to do now. We are able to see those guys improve, because they aren’t thinking, the new guys are still thinking.
We are relatively healthy, we have some guys who will be out long-term, but there’s no one new to add to the list.
On the degree of defensive changes made
We haven’t made too much really, we are going to do things differently on defense and special teams too. Every spring, programs want to try something new. There’s a couple of new things that we will be doing new defensively, but I doubt that they will be that serious.
On working with Tom Bradley
He’s tremendous person. He’s a great guy to talk to, and he’s got tons of stories which are fun to hear. His knowledge of the game and his knowledge of defense, how to motivate kids is phenomenal. He’s got a great amount of experience. He’s as good as they come.
On the offensive tackles
Right now Adam Pankey
looks good, he’s more confident. Last year, he was hurt so he couldn’t do too much. He’s getting more confident each and every time he gets out there. In addition to that, Marquise Lucas looks good. We moved him from guard to tackle. He’s a strong kid, but he doesn’t come off the ball as hard as Mark Glowinski
or Quinton Spain
does, so he’s a natural fit at tackle.
I haven’t really seen much of him, he’s still hurt.
On getting out of some of the monotony of spring practice by going to Wheeling
Any time you throw something different at them it’s good. We are going to be doing a Mountaineer Athletic Club and 1100 Club event after this While we are in town here we wanted to get with some of the boosters and talk with them. The players like this too. They like having eyes on them. The monotony of just practice without anyone watching can get tiresome. To be able to get out here in front of fans is good. It means a lot to Mountaineer Nation that we are able to get out here and show that we are working hard to try and put a better product out on the field next year.
On this spring compared to last spring
I can’t really compare this week to last week. Trying to compare this week’s practice with the week before is difficult. It’s refreshing to have a large amount of returning guys. This coaching staff is meshing well and to have experienced guys coming back is a good thing for us.
On how he spent his spring break
I took my kids to the Bahamas last week. We went where it was warm, sat on the beach, swam with the dolphins and all that good stuff.