MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A full transcript of West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen's remarks following Saturday's Gold-Blue Spring game played inside Milan Puskar Stadium:
Really happy with the way today turned out. We had a great crowd out there. I thought our players attacked it the right way. We’ve had five long weeks of football, and this was kind of more like a reward for them to be able to go out in front of a lot of people and have a game atmosphere. It was really good for recruiting. (We) had a bunch of recruits in this morning. It was awesome to have those guys, and then having all the former players back is always something that I thoroughly enjoy. Those guys mean a lot to the program, and it’s always good to have those guys back. (I’m) so happy with the way today turned out. (I’m) glad it’s over. It’s the 15th practice. You get to the point to where it’s like, “let’s get this over and done with.” We kind of know where we’re at right now but (we) just want to kind of get it over and done with, and give the players some time over the next month. This is probably the most time that they have all year. The most personal time that they have all year is over the course of the next month, and then (we have to) get them in a good frame of mind to come back and have a good summer. We have a lot of work to do in June and July prior to the actual camp getting kicked off in August, so with that I’ll take some questions.
On what’s going well and what’s not...
Well, you get to a point where you just can’t get any better with what you currently have, (and that) is pretty much my point. I think we’re going to be a completely different team (in) late August than we are right now. You guys know my injury policy right now, but there’s 20 guys in the weightroom that were not able to participate. All those guys will be back, and the long-term guys with (redshirt senior wide receiver) Ka’Raun (White) and (redshirt junior safety) Dravon Askew-Henry
and (redshirt junior offensive lineman) Yodny Cajuste
really honestly could’ve played, but what’s the point? So, what I meant was, I know where we’re at and I know we can’t get any better until we get three months down the road, and then we will kind of look and see what we’re good at and (what) we’re not good at. I don’t really have the answers for that.
On the new play calling...
We’re in constant communication about what needs to happen and where we’re at and what we need to call and what the game plans are; I mean that’s not going to change. The thing that will be different in the game are the headsets (and) stuff. Where I think we had a delay of game where we were going for it on fourth down, where it’s going to be a little easier when I’m in his ear and I’m saying “you’ve got two downs here” or “be thinking about fourth down.” You know, any time you get around that 30-40 yard line that’s going to be something that’s going to be possible. We’re on the same page right now; I’m not worried about that. The game management, the sideline stuff, communications ... (we) need headsets in order to get that done, which we don’t need to be worried about that right now.
Yeah, he looked pretty good to me. Did he look good to you? Yeah. He’s as good as advertised. I just like the kid’s demeanor. I mean, he’s got complete control of the huddle. It’s going to be different when it’s live bullets and he can get hit. We’re obviously protecting him right now. There has been a bunch of spring games and spring practices here over the course of the last four years where I wasn’t protecting those quarterbacks because I think it made (former quarterback) Skyler (Howard) better to get hit. So, Grier, right now - we’re not going to let anybody come close to him obviously. He’s got complete control. He has a really good idea of what we want him to do offensively. His accuracy is outstanding. The one thing that you can’t see right now because we’re protecting him is his ability to be able to keep the play alive with scrambles and some quarterback run game. He’s better at that than you think because you think since he’s got such a good arm, you think he’s just a pocket guy. But he can move around and make some plays. If you watch that highlight tape from Florida, he’s running around making plays left and right. His dad is here, who is a coach and said, “Dana, you’ve got to make sure that he scrambles the throw because he gets so competitive he scrambles the run and we’ve got to protect him.” So we’ve been coaching that pretty hard.
On the chemistry between Grier and (junior wide receiver) David Sills...
Yeah, he’s our most valuable guy right now, which is not surprising. He’s been doing it every day for 15 days. David has a starting quarterback mentality. He’s extremely, extremely football smart. I knew that when I recruited him, and so that rubs off on the guys in the huddle. That connection has been fun to watch, and over the course of the next two years, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. David is going to keep getting better. He’s committed to playing receiver now, and he gets better every day. I mean, he’s disappointed in himself right now because he didn’t make a couple of the plays that you thought he could have (made). I thought it was a pretty good spring game for him.
On former players coming and getting into the game...
Yeah, I was bored. Were you all bored? I got bored there in the fourth quarter. I’m sitting there looking at the sidelines going, “he’s made a whole bunch of plays, he’s made a whole bunch of plays, he’s made a whole bunch of plays ... they’ve never played together.” So I said, “Jake, get those guys together and put them out there.” What I was shocked about was KJ Dillon, who talks more trash than anybody I’ve ever met - he talks trash to me - he didn’t get out there. I was like dude, him and Rasul Douglas were sitting right there. Both of them are extremely competitive and loved talking trash. I cant believe they didn’t jump out. Well, I forgot that KJ is coming off a knee surgery. He goes, “that’s the only reason I didn’t get in someone’s face out there.” But that was fun, Geno (Smith) came to the sideline he goes, “Man, I knew (Shelton Gibson) could run, but I didn’t know he could run that fast.” And he didn’t even stretch. No, it’s fun. Like I said, those guys mean a lot to me and the program, and I love having those guys back. They rub off on a lot of the younger guys. A lot of those guys in the locker room, I had Geno break it down. He broke it down. I mean 90% of that team doesn’t know Geno - never seen him before - so it’s good to have those guys back.