MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–While the weather is not very spring like in Morgantown, the West Virginia University football team is still making the most of its time on the field.
On a cold and snowy Saturday morning, head coach Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers met inside the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility.
“We just have uppers on,” Holgorsen said. “Everything will be controlled. There will be no situations. We are just working on some installation stuff. It will be limited special teams. We will do a lot of individual stuff. We will do some pass rush stuff, some blitz pickup and a bunch of one on one drills. Then we will do a bunch of scripted plays. We will do a tempo period.”
Holgorsen really likes the attitude that the team is displaying this spring.
“Overall, I like the attitude and the effort from the team,” he said. “You always deal with spring practice and not being able to get a whole lot done. We haven’t hit that, and hopefully, we don’t see it today. The guys are motivated, and they want to come out and practice. They like playing the game. I like their attitude. They show up, and they are ready to work every day. I think we are getting better every day.”
WVU is practicing this week with its new wide receivers coach Tyron Carrier. Holgorsen is happy to have the new addition to his staff.
“He was a great player at Houston,” he said. “His numbers speak for themselves. He has been in this offense for four years, two years with myself and two years with (Kliff) Kingsbury. He took over for me at Houston, so he has a lot of familiarity with this offense. We had a lot of interest in this job. The one thing that didn’t make sense to me was bringing a guy in that didn’t have familiarity with what we are doing. We have some experienced receivers, and we have some guys that are continuing to develop. We don’t have to teach them the offense, but he can teach them a lot of nuances. The technique aspect of things. He is a fierce competitor. He’s a fiery guy. He is going to bring some knowledge from playing experience that I think will be extremely helpful.”
Carrier worked with the receivers and returners last season as a graduate assistant at Baylor. During his playing days at Houston, he was a NCAA record-setting returner.
Holgorsen is excited to see how Carrier can help with the Mountaineers’ returners this season.
“He has an impact,” he said. “This guy leads the country in kickoff returns. He has a wealth of knowledge with that. I’m going to turn them off to him, and let him coach the kick returners and punt returners. We will see how it goes.”
WVU announced another new addition to the team come this fall, Florida transfer Will Grier. Holgorsen wants to continue to develop his current players but he plans on brining in athletes that can help in the future, which is something the head coach believes Grier has the ability to do.
“He is a really good football player,” Holgorsen said. “Anytime we have opportunities to bring in really good football players, then we are going to do just that. Our job is to coach up the guys that we have first and foremost, but we have to continue to recruit guys that are going to help us in the future.”
Former Mountaineers quarterback Clint Trickett may have played a role in Grier’s decision to transfer to WVU.
“It is a funny story,” Holgorsen said. “Those two guys were able to get to know each other on an airplane. They were randomly sitting next to each other on a flight to New York. They just kind of looked at each other and recognized who each other was, and they started talking. They had a prior relationship. Clint’s time here was very valuable. It was a great experience for him, and he will be the first to let you know that. Whether he had any impact on him (Will Grier) coming here, I don’t know.”
With the new additions to the coaching staff Holgorsen is hoping to be able to recruit in some unfamiliar grounds.
“(Director of Player Personnel Ryan) Dorchester is working through that now, because recruiting is on the horizon,” Holgorsen said. “Primarily, we are going to put (assistant coach/cornerbacks) Blue (Adams) in Georgia. We will be able to hit North Carolina. We will be able to get (assistant coach/defensive line) coach (Bruce) Tall involved with North Carolina a little bit, just because he has the familiarity of being there. Then it’s basically just Virginia and Maryland with what we have to do. We will probably end up hitting that by committee. It will be silly not to have coach Carrier in Houston a little bit. He grew up there, and he has a lot of resources there. He has a lot of familiarity and relationships with the high schools based on his past. We will probably get into Houston a little bit as well.”