Coach Holgorsen and his team are ten practices into the spring and the head coach continues to be pleased with the work of the Mountaineers. This week, the team is right where the head coach expects them to be. “A lot of reps, a lot of bodies, a lot of bad football, a lot of good football, all that good stuff. So pretty much right where we should be for practice 10.”
Coach Holgorsen pointed out that this past Saturday was the team’s most recent scrimmage. The coach was able to get 105 reps in on Saturday and delivered his opinion on what he saw in his usual lack of word-mincing way. “Some good stuff, some bad stuff, but we have had four live periods prior to that. There’s nothing special about a scrimmage it’s just exclusively live reps as opposed to drill work and all of that good stuff.”
Coach Holgorsen also spoke about what he has seen thus far from Jake Spavital, highlighting how much of the offensive coordinator’s career has been under Holgorsen’s tutelage. ” He was trained under me for how many years? One at Houston, one at Oklahoma State, two here, I’d guess, so almost half his career he’s been with me anyway, so we share a lot of the same philosophies. It’s much like when I broke off from Coach (Mike) Leach, there were similarities and there were differences. He did some small things that were different that we’ve talked about.”
One of the biggest takeaways about the Holgorsen-Spavital duo that we continue to see week in, week out is the mutual respect for one another and how well the two are working together this spring. It goes without saying that the two know each other well and that will hopefully pay off this fall.
Coach Holgorsen spoke with the media about redshirt senior defensive lineman Jon Lewis and his role on the team going into his senior year, “Fifth-year senior, the guys who stick it out. Especially a local guy, a walk on, sticking it out. Along the same lines of Justin Arndt, been here for a long time, smart kid, cares. Grew up a Mountaineer, important to him, gives it everything he’s got. He’s helped us much like Justin did for four years on special teams. Scout teams, special teams, whatever he has to do to help us win. To see him fighting for a starting job, I mean it’s the same thing that Arndt did last year. Hopefully, Jon can make a difference for us on defense as well moving forward.”
Holgorsen bluntly told the media that he is now done discussing injuries on the team, firmly stating “No, I’m not going to talk about injuries ever again. I know it sounds like I am irritated and I am. We are going to talk about guys that play football. We aren’t going to talk about injuries anymore.”
One of the head coach’s concerns for the upcoming is throwing to the outside more, with the coach saying “We are going to have guys that can stretch the field. One thing that was said on signing day is the height of those guys being able to make a difference in the red zone when it came to red zone offense. Which, our red zone offense has been subpar. We need to score more inside the 40. Getting touchdowns will be important and those guys, with their length will be able to help us.” It’s likely that all of Mountaineer nation will breathe a collective sigh of relief at the thought of scoring more in the red zone.
Holgorsen also pointed out how quarterback Will Grier’s arm strength will open up the offense for the Mountaineers, “He can make tight throws. In red zone offense you have to make tight throws, that field gets shrunk so you have to make tight throws. Will has the ability to make those throws. Whether it is him or whether it is the receivers making those tight catches, I like what I have seen out of our red zone offense so far.”
Finally, the head coach spoke about the Mountaineers’s uptempo offense as practiced this spring, “Fast, extremely fast. We work it every practice. We have an abundance of two minute periods, four minute periods which is the opposite. I am forcing these guys to do that stuff every day, I am the official on it. I am working my game management skills as well. We can play as fast as anybody offensively. (Associate head coach (defensive coordinator/linebackers) (Tony) Gibby (Gibson) has always been able to line up to up-temp offenses as good as anybody. That is a big part of what the Big 12 is and we will continue to work that.”
Judging by the team’s first ten practices, it seems as if Coach Holgorsen has his team and coaches ready for a successful 2017 season.
Video courtesy WVUSports.com