Mountaineers have new, positive attitude this spring after Orange Bowl win in January
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 08:03
After hearing head coach Dana Holgorsen discuss the beginning of spring football practice Sunday evening, Tuesday was the first time the players addressed the media since the memorable Orange Bowl victory.
It was the second practice for the Mountaineers, but some team members still feel the lingering effect of the BCS bowl win.
"Honestly, it felt like just yesterday we got off the field (at the Orange Bowl), and it’s pretty crazy how we’re starting practice again," said junior linebacker Doug Rigg. "It’s about to start a new season, a new identity."
Rigg admits the record-breaking victory over Clemson has made an impact early in practice.
"It helps a lot," Rigg said. "It sets a standard for us that we want to get back there … It set a work ethic that’s higher than what it’s been in the last couple years."
Senior quarterback Geno Smith feels it’s not just the bowl victory that has helped changed the mind-set among the team, but also Holgorsen and his staff.
"The mood has changed over time," Smith said. "Coach Holgorsen has us believing a little bit more. We are having a little more confidence in ourselves. And we are all taking advantage of every chance we get on the field and that we are getting better every day."
Smith, who set Orange Bowl records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in January, is happy with the early progress through two spring practices.
"I feel great. We have a great team here. We’ve been working hard. Everybody’s been buying in," Smith said. "Coach Holgorsen’s doing a great job as always and everyone is buying into the program and working hard."
The senior from Miami, Fla., was forced to learn an entirely new offense last spring. This spring, his job is a little less stressful.
"I feel a lot more seasoned," Smith said. "I’m not trying to figure things out as I was last spring. I have an understanding of the offense."
The spring season is a time in which younger players are presented with the opportunity to prove themselves to the coaching staff.
With so many young players in camp competing for playing time, senior offensive lineman Jeff Braun may have some advice for how the inexperienced players can be successful in the spring.
"The biggest thing is to be physical and have good technique," Braun said.
"If you do all that stuff, other things will come along. You’re going to be more confident when you play, and you’re just going to be a better football player."