Camp Holgs: WVU opens fall camp
Published: Thursday, August 2, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 2, 2012 21:08
If there's one thing you can take from the first day of fall camp, it's that there's not much to take from the first day of fall camp.
At least that's what West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said following his team's first practice of the 2012 season Thursday.
"It's not real football," he said. "We need to get some pads on.
"There are 25 to 30 new guys out there, so they need to look up to the older guys and follow them. It's obviously part of the transition."
Coming off last season's victory over Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl in January, the Mountaineers are facing high expectations heading into this season. A lot of the players have found themselves listed among some of the nation's best in just about every preseason watch list that has come out, and the team was ranked No. 11 in the first ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
But the second-year head coach said he told his team to head into this season the same way they would go into any other season.
"Expectations are high, which we like, but we're not going to pay attention to it," Holgorsen said. "How you handle expectations is you just do your job. We talked to them about focusing hard on making themselves better on all three sides of the ball."
During the spring, West Virginia had to deal with players like senior linebacker Terence Garvin, sophomore linebacker Jewone Snow and sophomore running back Dustin Garrison sidelined to injuries. Holgorsen said that wasn't a problem as WVU started fall camp.
No players were held out of Thursday's first practice due to injury.
"I was excited to see them out there," Holgorsen said. "Terence looked like Terence, and he's out there and moving around. Dustin looked good. Jewone Snow was a shoulder thing, so we'll see when he pops the pads on, and Pat Miller is back and ready to go.
"We start every meeting at 2 p.m. with (Athletic Trainer) Dave Kerns giving us an update on who's healthy and not healthy ... He had zero people on his list and that's how it should be the first practice."
One big difference between the start of fall camp this year and last season is the fact that the Mountaineers have a lot more depth at the quarterback position to take part in practices.
Heading into the 2011 season, the only players at the position were Geno Smith and Paul Millard. In order to take stress off their arms, the coaching staff even participated in passing drills during practices.
Now, with the additions of freshman Ford Childress and two walk-ons, WVU comes into this year with five quarterbacks.
"It alleviates some of the every-down throwing that Geno and Paul do," Holgorsen said. "Long term, it should really help us because we can get better from a drill standpoint and not wear out Geno and Paul's arms."
West Virginia's overall depth is up this season compared to last year, as well. There aren't quite as many players on scholarship as Holgorsen would like at this time, but he's started to see the numbers improve.
"We're at 79 or 80 (scholarship players)," Holgorsen said. "There are a couple of guys that need to finish (summer courses) strong from an academic standpoint. If we retain all our guys and signed all our guys, we'd be in much better shape than we were last year.
"Hopefully next year we can get that up to 85, that's the goal."