MORGANTOWN, W. Va.
– Head coach Dana Holgorsen addressed members of the media Saturday during the Mountaineers’ open practice at Milan Puskar Stadium.
It feels like a spring practice day today for the first time in quite a while. We’re going to do the same thing we did last Saturday and use the same practice format. There will be a lot of drills. We started off with Oklahoma, and at the end of practice we will have a live red zone-goal line drill.
On improvements made during the spring
Everyday there’s improvement. The thing I have liked is their energy. Every single practice they’ve been very spirited. Hopefully, we can keep that up. Spring practice does get to be a little redundant, but we’ve done some different things, and we’ve got a lot of guys who are having a good time competing. They’re in the right frame of mind. We’re going to show improvement each and every time we get out here. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the amount of energy that these guys have been playing with.
On team depth
Nobody has enough depth. If you asked the reigning national champions, I would imagine that they’d say the same thing. We have a lot of bodies out here for spring practice. We are two bodies deep on both lines. Whether they’re good enough to play or not, I can’t say. We get anywhere from 50 to 60 team snaps a day, which is good. If we keep healthy like we have, we should be able to do that for the remainder of the spring.
On the offensive line, bodies wise, we’re two-deep. We are still looking for a third tackle. (Junior) Sylvester (Townes) and (redshirt freshman) Marcell Lazard
have been progressing, but not to the point where we can depend on them to go out and play right now. (redshirt junior) Stone (Underwood)’s doing well and so is (redshirt junior) Russell Haughton-James
. Those guys are a solid sixth and seventh right now. I’m comfortable with my starters. The five guys have been doing well. The inexperience at tackle was one of the things that we were concerned with, but (redshirt sophomore Adam) Pankey is a lot more confident and is healthy and looks really good. (redshirt junior) Marquis (Lucas) is really adjusting to tackle. He’s more of a tackle than a guard.
On the defensive scheme
It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I’ve been here. The reason I run an odd defense is because it can be very multiple. If you’re a four-down defense, you can’t be multiple. If you’re a three-down defense, an odd defense, you can be multiple. I have to look at what gives us problems, because a lot of teams in the Big 12 have similar defenses. The thing that gives us the most trouble is an odd defense, so that’s what we’re going to do. It will give us a bunch of different looks.
You have to remain simple and sound with it. We don’t want to trick anybody with what we’re doing, but we want to be able to line up quick and bring a lot of different looks to the table.
Last year, it was too multiple. It was still an odd defense, but we were doing too many different things. The one thing (defensive coordinator) Tony (Gibson) has done a good job with is getting it a little more simplified. When we run offensive plays, watch the defense line up. I’ve been really impressed with how quick they line up. We face so many high-tempo offenses that we need to be able to do that. I think they’re doing an excellent job with that right now.
I think every head coach wants to use their philosophy on all three sides of the ball. Right now, the continuity on offense that I have with the coaches is good. Defense is the same, and on special teams with (special teams coordinator) Joe (DeForest), I’ve been very happy from a coaching perspective.
On running backs
(Sophomore) Wendell (Smallwood) is probably our second-best inside receiver right now. (redshirt junior) Andrew Buie
has been doing some of that as well.