MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen addressed members of the media on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at the Steve Antoline Family Football Practice Field.
How’s everybody doing? Practice 13, last one. Excited about one more day. We’ll get out there for a couple hours and have a normal end today and Thursday have our last helmets practice, which really doesn’t really count. That will be a lot of preparation for Saturday. Of course Saturday we’ll try to get about 100 reps. The two scrimmages that we’ve had we’ve got about 100 each so the spring game is about the same thing. We’ll do it like we’ve done in the past. We won’t pick teams or any of that goofy stuff that some other teams do. Just like doing what we’ve been doing with the scrimmages because that’s kind of what they are used to and I feel like that’s the best way to get more work to close out the spring. This is the last one. You get to week five in spring practice and everybody is like wanting it to be over obviously but I think we’ll get some good work in today and then get through the spring game on Saturday.
On what he likes and what he doesn’t like
Yeah, still way too early to tell honestly. A lot of the guys are getting reps you know there’s a chance this team could have as much talent as any team we’ve had since I’ve been here. I don’t think that exclusively wins football games. We still have to develop a lot of continuity on each phase of the game which once you add 10 new guys in May and 10 new guys in June and 10 new guys in July, guys that potentially could be some contributors I don’t think you’re going to figure out what the overall chemistry of the team is until somewhere in the neighborhood of September at some point. I’m not worried about that now. Just technique and coaching guys that’s really the only thing that were focused on and each time we get out here we get a little bit better at something so I expect to get out there today and get a little bit better at something.
On the leadership and togetherness throughout the team
It was and that’s what I’m talking about when it comes to chemistry. I don’t know yet, I don’t know yet. We have talent, we have older guys, a lot of our seniors last year were fifth year guys. If you look at the seniors this year there are a lot of transfers. I think it’s going to be, which is really my job more than anything, is develop in those leaders and develop chemistry in a team that really likes each other and wants to fight hard for each other. I think that’s going to be huge in June and parts of July and a little bit of August heading into the season. I don’t think we can do that right now I just don’t think this team is there yet.
On filling the needs at the cornerback position
Yeah, it’s similar to what it was last year. I mean if you look you had Rasul (Douglas) and you had (Antonio) Crawford and you had Maurice Fleming, guys that were transfers, older guys that hadn’t played a whole lot of football here. Where this year you’re kind of the same way. You are (senior cornerback) (Elijah) Battle, whose been making plays. (Redshirt sophomore cornerback) (Hakeem) Bailey has really looked good at times. He’s got good length and I like where he’s at. (Senior cornerback) Mike Daniels
has shown some flashes of being okay, and we got another senior coming in with the Syracuse kid that’s coming in here in about another month. So I think it’s going to be similar to where we were with older guys that just haven’t played a ton for us but have the ability to be able to play. I like where we’re at there.
On recruiting older guys
Yeah, it’s becoming a little bit more popular. We have our eye on a couple more right now as we’re currently speaking. I think when (assistant coach (offensive line) (Joe) Wick (Wickline) gets out on the road next Monday he’s going to be looking for more because we’ve got some room to be able to fill some of those guys. I just think it’s becoming more popular because guys, they redshirt and then they play and then they get out. They academically can get out. So it seems like it’s becoming a little bit more popular. I talked to a guy, not going to tell you who it is, obviously, but a guy that we’re trying to bring in this weekend that they won’t even let him practice this spring at the junior college that he’s at because they know he can get out and somebody is going to take him this spring. The junior college coaches are aware of this as well and they see three year guys getting picked off their rosters because everybody is needing guys to come in and fill a void. You go through spring you go, “oh crap” we’re a little bit down at receiver so let’s go find one. I got room for a couple so let’s go find them. We’ve talked a lot about this recruiting thing. I used to panic on signing day when we didn’t fill our slots. Now I would rather have about four of them left and go through spring and see what we need and go out and spring recruit some of these junior colleges or grad transfer guys and fill the spots on what we need for immediate help. It’s paid off for us in the past and I look for that trend to continue.
On other schools beginning to bring in players in the spring
Oklahoma State has done it more than Oklahoma has here recently. I saw that they are in on a couple of guys right now. What are your needs? You better fill them now or you are going to get exposed. It’s been good for us and I would look for other teams to continue to do it. I don’t think that is going to stop, there was some talk last May and the year before May about that kind of stopping, the grad transfer thing stopping. I don’t see it stopping.
On Assistant Coach (Running Backs) Tony Dews never coaching running backs before coming to West Virginia
Presence was the number one thing that struck me with him. He has that voice that carries across the room. He has really good presence about him. Recruiting was important. With our running backs you have to teach receiver skills. Ja’Juan (Seider) wasn’t a running backs coach prior to getting here, I don’t think, maybe he was for a year or so. To me a skill guy on offense is a skill guy on offense, whether it is running backs, receivers, tight ends, quarterbacks, all those are the same. They are in a lot of the same meetings and run a lot of the same drills. He has brought some presence to the room. He has brought some receiving stuff. He has good ideas when it comes to that. I don’t think you need to hire guys that just have an expertise at one position, (associate head coach (defensive coordinator/linebackers) (Tony) Gibby (Gibson) was a DB (defensive back) coach his whole career until he started coaching linebackers a few years ago. To me that is an easy transition as well. Offense to defense, front to back end is another story, but the same side of the ball either the front end or back end, type thing, skilled guy, line thing, that to me is a little bit bigger difference.
On if redshirt senior offensive lineman Kyle Bosch is still playing left guard
He hasn’t moved. I don’t know, he looks good to me. I don’t think with him it matters, he has played so much ball. Left guard, right guard doesn’t matter. Once you settle in, you stay in either the left side or the right side over the long haul, but short-term wise it doesn’t matter and just kind of get used to either putting your left hand on the ground or your right hand on the ground is probably important. For him, he has played so much ball it doesn’t matter. (assistant coach (offensive line) (Joe) Wick (Wickline) does a good job of moving those guys around, which is different than how we have done it the last four years, just getting them to play multiple positions. That is something that has always been important.
On redshirt senior offensive lineman Kyle Bosch playing center
He is not too fat to snap. He got mad at me for that saying that too. I had to apologize to him. He’s just, the center is a different animal. I haven’t had many that could really just be a dominating guard and just dabble in center a little bit and be good at it. That to me has been kind of tough. We have been so happy with (redshirt sophomore offensive lineman) Matt (Jones) that is important and just repping (redshirt junior) (Ray) Raulerson as much as we can at center is going to pay off. (Redshirt freshman offensive lineman) Jacob (Buccigrossi) was playing really good at center too so we felt like we had three and we didn’t need them. Now we have two and we are going to get Jacob back. He will be cleared late August so he will have him available. We feel like we have good centers now and we are set up for the future.