On Thursday afternoon, head coach Dana Holgorsen met with the media for fall camp update number eleven in the Milan Puskar stadium team room.
Holgorsen opened the press conference feeling confident in the reps that the team has taken; about 425 live reps and over 550 team reps. “We are making progress on all three sides of the ball, and we are maintaining health in the meantime.”
He then spent time discussing what camp will consist of the rest of the week. Thursday was a big day for the Mountaineers as they practiced in full pads and worked on two minute drills, third downs and formulated offense. However, Friday the team will scale back and just be in upper pads which will lead into Saturday by getting in about 100 plays which will be their first real scrimmage.
On Rushel Shell:
“Not yet. I know he has it in him,” Holgorsen said about Rushel Shell about his ability to be on the field in every situation, “The perception of him being a dominant force is far greater than what reality is. I will be the first to tell him that. He’s a physical, determined kid who doesn’t play like that all the time. My job is to get him to do that starting in game one.”
He also said that Shell is going to be a between-the-tackles who lowers his shoulder to get tough yards. They are working on him to be able to pull through when opportunities are presented and maintain his health. “I am not disappointed in him whatsoever. I want to see him be dominant every time we give him the ball.”
On Shelton Gibson:
The media then went on to question if sophomore WR Shelton Gibson is trying too hard. “He’s a guy that puts a lot of undue pressure on himself. He wants to be good really bad.”
Holgorsen mentioned that Gibson made a reference to be the best player he has ever coached, and Dana responded by telling him to have a good sophomore year first. The question was then brought up about Shelton’s “bad days.” “He is dropping balls. He is too tense. He fights it. That sort of thing. He has really good ball skills. I saw this in recruiting, when he was up here during camp… You fix that through repetition. You keep doing the same thing over and over again.”
On Daikiel Shorts:
Will he play outside or inside?
“He can do whatever we ask him to do…He’s the most versatile guy that we have. He is a great kid. He’s a hard worker, and he understands the game. He has a lot of experience. He can play outside. He can play inside. Physically, he can do any of it. Where he ends up probably depend on where we need him,” Dana Holgorsen said.
On Geno Smith situation:
Holgorsen was shocked at the news. Smith actually talked to Dana’s son Logan the night before and they talked about how he was having a great camp. He believes that Geno was going to explode on the NFL map and have a great season. “…hopefully he hurries up and recovers from it and gets back to work. It’s a setback. It’s disappointing to hear. I don’t know the details whatsoever.”
On Pass Rush:
Holgorsen believes that the pass rush will be better this year. “Seeing No. 8 (senior safety Karl Joseph), and No. 9 (senior safety KJ Dillon), No. 35 (redshirt senior linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski), No. 36 (redshirt senior linebacker Shaq Petteway) and No. 42 (redshirt senior linebacker Jared Barber) shoot gaps is better than I have seen.”
“(Redshirt junior defensive lineman) Noble (Nwachukwu) looks good. (Junior defensive lineman) Larry Jefferson has some twitch to get there, so I think we will be better…(Assistant coach/defensive line) Bruce Tall understands this defense and how to coach it. Watching it from the other side, I can see a big difference.”
On Young Quarterbacks:
William Crest Jr. is getting the majority of reps of the young quarterbacks and Holgorsen has been very happy with his progress. Freshman Chris Chugunov has had a sore shoulder because he is not used to doing what the staff has asked of him in 10 days so they have been giving him some rest the last couple days.
On David Sills:
Is there a possibility of him being a multi-position player?
He is athletic enough, but he is focused on the quarterback position right now. Sills may be in developmental mode, but he has a redshirt and four years of eligibility.
The Mountaineers face Georgia Southern in 22 days (Saturday, September 5th @ 7 p.m.).