Camp Holgs: Coaches continue to get involved on day two
Published: Saturday, August 6, 2011
Updated: Friday, August 12, 2011 21:08
After practicing on the grass practice field on Friday, the West Virginia football team went into Milan Puskar Stadium for the second day of practice Saturday.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen said part of the reason he likes practicing on the grass field, as opposed to the Mountaineers' game field, is because it will allow the players' legs to stay fresh longer.
"We could've gotten away with going up there (Saturday), but the grass looks that good now, I'd hate to get on there and tear it up," Holgorsen said. "We want to be up there as much as possible. It's a proven fact that grass is better than the other artificial surfaces."
On the field, Holgorsen and his offense was beginning the process of reinstalling the second third of the offense, while defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel continued doing the same with his group.
Offensively, West Virginia's quarterbacks Geno Smith and Paul Millard worked with new quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital in drills that involved rolling out to their right or left and one of three targets. Spavital told the quarterbacks which target to throw to prior to each throw.
After that, Smith and Millard joined the receivers and running backs and threw some more passes to them. As it was discussed after yesterday's practice, the Mountaineers have a need for more quarterbacks to run drills like this, so Holgorsen and Spavital both stepped in and helped throw passes to the receivers. Holgorsen stepped in to help out in the drill after inside receivers coach Shannon Dawson participated in it Friday.
"I got caught off guard with that because Shannon did it yesterday and he couldn't lift his arm (today)," Holgorsen said. "We were going to get started, and Paul (Millard) goes, ‘You going to help me out here?' I didn't have much of a choice, but without warming up, I was throwing some dimes."
Before they joined the receivers and quarterbacks, the running backs went through rigorous ball security drills once again, run by running backs Robert Gillespie. Gillespie got involved in the drill as well, as he tried ripping the ball from his running backs each play.
Another point of emphasis early on in camp has been trying to find the right players to return kicks and punts after the departure of Jock Sanders and Brandon Hogan, who did the majority of the returns last season.
On Saturday, Gillespie threw fake punts up into the air to inside receivers Tavon Austin and Devon Brown, wide receiver J.D. Woods and cornerback Brodrick Jenkins.
Holgorsen said he definitely wouldn't be opposed to seeing someone like Austin, who is expected to be a major factor in the offense, back returning kicks this season.
"That can change the game, especially a punt return," Holgorsen said. "We try to protect starters to a certain extent from being on too many special teams, but being on two isn't too bad and if Tavon's returning kicks and punts, he probably won't be doing anything else special teams-wise."
One thing that has been changed in camp this year than in years past is the attitude surrounding practices.
Holgorsen and the rest of the coaching staff have made strides in getting the atmosphere more relaxed so the players can feel more loose and energetic on the field. That includes playing music prior to the start of practice while the players are going through stretches and their other pre-practice routines.
"We talk to them a bunch about being loose and having a good time, that's why everybody does this," Holgorsen said. "If you can't distinguish between the time to be able to do that and the time to really be able to buckle in and get stuff done, you've got problems.
"A lot of that stuff can be taken away from them if we're not getting what we want in a specific situation."