Camp Holgs: Holgorsen pleased with progress
Published: Monday, August 13, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2012 22:08
As the West Virginia football team closes in on the halfway point of fall camp, head coach Dana Holgorsen continues to be pleased with the progression of his players, but also acknowledges that he’ll know a lot more about his team after just another week of practices.
“The practice format won’t change a lot, but we’re kind of at the stage where we need to put the ball down and start playing more,” Holgorsen said. “We’ll learn a lot about our team here this week.”
Holgorsen estimated that the team participated in around 50 live-snaps in yesterday afternoon’s practice which he reported consisted mainly of Geno Smith and the first team offense marching up and down the field seemingly at will.
One of the drives occurred while the media was still on the practice field and showed just how efficient the Mountaineer offense can operate under Holgorsen’s notoriously blistering pace. The first team offense had more completions than huddles in the 8-play drive that consisted of 3 runs and 5 pass attempts. The fiery defense did force a third-down in the red zone but Geno Smith promptly hooked up with Tavon Austin on a play-action slant across the middle for a touchdown to cap off the drive, which lasted just under four minutes in real-time.
After the drive, Holgorsen came jogging over across the Mountaineer’s practice turf smiling and asking the media if they were happy with what they had just seen, obviously quite smitten himself. The collective buzz amongst the reporters likely served as more than enough of an answer.
But despite Holgorsen’s obvious satisfaction with his first-team offense, which features multiple proven scoring weapons, he was candidly disappointed during the conference with some lapses the last few practices from some of the younger members that make up the second unit on offense.
“Our first-team looked good today. They’re comfortable and playing well,” Holgorsen told reporters. “Our second-team offense looks terrible. They look awful. And that’s what we’re dealing with on offense, you put the second team in there and you’ve got a bunch of true freshmen.
“And they don’t need to act like true freshmen, they need to get better.”
Holgorsen reported that one player who’s seen notable improvements is Smith, who had a record-setting season for the Mountaineers last year and has already been named as the Big 12 conference’s preseason offensive player this year.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, because he puts enough pressure on himself, but he’s improved everything,” Holgorsen said of Smith. “His footwork is better, his arm-strength is better, his quickness, release and accuracy are better. He’s really improved his game and it shows out there.”
The head coach had reported at an earlier conference during preseason camp that he was fairly concerned with the academic progress of a few of his players, who he would not name, but revealed last night that all of the players originally in doubt had managed to accomplish their requirements to maintain their eligibility. Holgorsen was openly relieved.
“It’s a miracle,” Holgorsen said. “I think we’re in the clear. A couple guys I had some very serious reservations about and they got cleared. The academic people in the back are doing a great job.”
Near the conclusion of the conference, Holgorsen was asked if there was a possibility that his team might overlook any of the first three non-conference opponents on the schedule because of all the preseason excitement and fanfare surrounding WVU’s initiation into the notorious Big 12, which officially begins Sep. 29 against Baylor.
“No,” responded Holgorsen succinctly and confidently. “Because of how we’ve approached it – we’ve thought it out. We’ve got a lot of coaches that have approached this the same way for a long time. And we1’ll keep worrying about ourselves because we’ve got a long ways to go, and once we get closer we’ll start worrying about Marshall, that’s just the approach.”