CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Assistant coaches and players of the West Virginia football team addressed members of the media Saturday afternoon following the Mountaineers’ open practice at University of Charleston Stadium.
Senior Associate Head Coach Tom Bradley
On Bradley preparing for the Big 12
In the Big Ten, you knew what the turnover was going to be like for each team, unless they hadn't been on your schedule for a couple years. You kind of had an idea. I don't have an idea on some of these teams in the Big 12, besides watching some film on them. I'm going to get caught up with that. That is some of the work I have planned for the summer time.
It will be interesting because you don't know what to expect. Once again, we have a very good defensive staff, with two guys who have been defensive coordinators before. I think they can get me caught up to speed really quickly.
On if Bradley has had enough time to thoroughly evaluate his personnel
It has been a good assessment. As we go through spring, I haven't really had a chance to see how they're going to go at it when they're tired and all of those things. I'll be anxious to see how we come out and practice tomorrow. It's the first time we've had back-to-back practices. I'll have a better assessment as we go through the start of summer camp.
Offensive Coordinator Shannon Dawson
On the quarterbacks' performance today
Obviously, the handoff with (senior) Logan Moore
down here sticks out to me. You've got to be able to make a handoff. I don't know who's fault that was, but ultimately it comes down to the quarterback. I thought we got caught with the ball a couple times. Just put the ball in play. You're standing back there, and you've got to have a clock in your head. Especially, when you get the ball down here in the redzone. You don't want to go backward. You don't want to be taken out of field goal range. That frustrates me more than anything. Taking a sack when they blitz, come wide-open free and you don't have a chance is one thing. But, sitting back there and holding the ball for 10 seconds and taking a snap is another. You have to get rid of the ball.
On the offense being prepared for the Big 12 this year
That's the goal. I think as far as offense all-around, we're more suited. We're deeper, we've got some experienced guys that have played. I think we have 20-something guys who have played in Big 12 games. I don't think we could have said that the last couple years. With experience, I think we are ready. There is one key factor – the quarterback has to perform well. We're going to put someone in there that can do it. I'm not saying anything positive or negative about any of those guys. That's just the fact of the matter.
On being back in Charleston
I just liked driving back through here on the bus and everyone is just kind of looking around, and I'm just thinking that this is where I come from. It was exciting for me.
On the intensity during practice
That was fun. It was the first time we've actually scrimmaged together, so we just wanted to get out here and play hard in front of the fans.
On the memories of playing at University of Charleston Stadium
I played every home game here until I was a junior, when we got our field fixed up. It was fun. I was telling all of the guys that.
On work that needs to be done this spring
We still have a ways to go, but I feel like today we took a lot of strides in the right direction. I just need to get better at everything I do. The blocking stuff has been going well, but I still have things I need to work on.
Junior Safety KJ Dillon
On practicing on the road today
I had never been to Charleston. We wanted to come on the road and see the fans, see a part of West Virginia we hadn't seen before.
On finishing the spring on a strong note
The first thing we have to do is get ready for tomorrow's practice. We have a week together. Next Saturday, we suit up for the last time before we have five weeks off. So we have this last week to get better
On the offseason
It's been a great offseason for me. I've bounced back and have been getting better everyday. I've been getting my body and mind together.
On his experience at guard
We are working well as a unit and we are always finding ways to push each other and make each other work harder. You have to keep yourself going, you have to keep your mind focused in order to not let up at all.
We work well together. We are constantly pushing to make each other better and improve. If we do something wrong then we correct one another. We joke around but are always making sure we go hard on every down.
On the interior linemen and their chemistry
We gel pretty well together. We communicate with everyone on what needs to be done.
On his experience this spring compared to last spring
Last season I had to gain a sense of what was going on. I didn’t really know what was going on at guard, so it was a lot of learning with new techniques and steps. Now I understand everything and I can keep things rolling.
On how his linebacker position is affected with more DBs in the secondary
It doesn’t affect it too much. If you really look at it, every defense is similar. You might just move one person closer or back. I really don’t look at it as far as DBs, safeties or linebackers. As long as we can find 11 people running to the ball as hard as they can, it doesn’t matter if they are all linebackers or all safeties.
On how he adjusted to playing middle linebacker
I feel really comfortable in the middle. I played both outside and inside linebacker. I just feel that seeing everything at once rather than one side is better.
On what he is improving on this offseason
I want to know everything like the back of my hand. I want to know and see everything that is coming before it actually happens. That way I can play a lot faster. I’m going to be in the film room all the time and, definitely working on my technique, so I can get to that point.
On how the coaches are trying to “simplify” the defense
As far as communication goes, we want everyone to be on the same page and not do too much thinking. We want the thinking to happen before the ball is snapped and everyone to know what they are doing. As far as simplifying things, the coaches want to make sure that you aren’t thinking too much.
For more information contact:
Mike Montoro, 304 – 293 – 2821