MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - West Virginia players and assistant coaches addressed members of the media Saturday during the Mountaineers’ open practice at Milan Puskar Stadium.
I put a lot of effort into losing a little bit of weight. I wanted to boost my speed and I’ve gotten better at that. Any possible category of speed is what I want to get better at and what I’m working toward.
On position changes
I’ve gotten used to playing a lot of different places in the last two years, and I think I’m getting better at that. Tight end is my natural position, but I’ll do whatever they tell me.
It’s tough because I might go from playing tight end on one play and then play fullback on the next. It’s difficult, but it’s just something you have to do.
(Junior tight end/fullback) Garrett Hope
is more of a natural tight end than a fullback, and he helps me on some things. I mean, it’s a struggle for all of us and we’re trying to just learn the ropes right now.
I definitely see multiple amounts of us on the field at once. There’s a never ending amount of possibilities.
On playing left tackle
It’s fun to be next to a veteran like (redshirt senior offensive lineman) Quinton (Spain). I get a lot of tips from him every day. I’m learning a lot from all of the veterans. They help me out every day.
On the offseason
I worked a lot on my upper body, and I’m still working on a lot of upper arm stuff. The biggest thing for me is getting stronger because I’m a little bit smaller than everybody. I’ll continue to work on that throughout the spring. I just want to be on the same level as everybody.
On the offense as a whole
It’s too early to tell, but we’re gelling a lot better. Our communication is getting a lot better. We’re just taking everything a day at a time.
On experience last year
It helped me a lot to get on the field last year as a freshman. I got to know what to expect week in and week out in the Big 12, which is a lot of competition. It definitely helped me for this year.
On spring practice
It’s going well. Everyone is doing new stuff. We’re just all going 100 percent and doing what we can do.
On the competition
I knew coming in this year that everyone is fighting for a spot. It’s a huge competition. We just treat it like it’s ours. You just have to be the person to work the hardest. We’re going to keep working hard every practice, executing plays and doing everything we can.
On improvement in the offense
We have more experience, and we talk a lot more now. When we come off the field, we talk and communicate. We see what we did right and wrong. We’re going to feed off of that and just keep playing ball.
On multiple looks on defense
Being multiple on defense is very important. Everyone can run a certain defense, but if you can come out with different things and different formations, you will be fine. It’s a very big thing in the Big 12 because you see so many different offenses. You have teams with fast quarterbacks, run games and fast games.
If I had to call it something I’d just call it multiple. There are so many things we can do and it’s early. It’s early so it’s hard to say.
On spring practice
It’s a constant battle. Having this practice today definitely helped us on both sides of the ball, and it is a competition. At the end of the day, it’s all fun and games.
Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson
On defense as a whole
As long as we’re playing hard, seeing the right stuff and playing the right guys, it’s going to be hard for them to get past us. Right now, we’ve got a couple blitzes and base coverage plays. I want them to master that first to see what they can do. When you do a lot of things but you can’t master them, that’s when you see problems.
I think that the way we line up right now and our structure as a defense, we’re giving them the position to succeed. We just want to get really good at what we’re doing. We’re about two weeks away from playing the spring game, and we only have about two weeks to get it cleaned up.
Senior Associate Head Coach Tom Bradley
On pacing of the defense
It’s really hard to play in a game and not worry about how fast you’re going to go. We’re trying to get that going and alleviate some of that pressure by playing more than one guy at every position. We have guys that want to be the first ones on the field, and that’s great competition.
We have some very good guys on our defense. Everybody on the defense, hopefully, will be able to do what we want them to do. We’re getting practice with the pacing. That’s one of the great things about practice here. At certain times we’re getting tempo periods, and we get to run a lot of plays. We get to practice getting lined up.
One of the things you absolutely have to do is communicate, and that’s what we’re trying to do. Communication is the very first thing. Nobody huddles anymore. Everybody has to know the signals that way the game is played now. You’re forcing everybody to limit and change the ways that they do things, because you just can’t do all of them due to the changes.
Associate Head Coach - Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeForest
On improvement from last year
I’m coaching 10 safeties and nine specialists and coordinating all of these special teams. I’ve done that for 11 years, so it’s not that different, but I mean it’s always a challenge.
(Redshirt sophomore safety) Jarrod Harper
is having a good spring. We have to find a consistent free safety. (Sophomore safety) Jeremy Tyler
and (junior cornerback) Ricky Rumph
are working back there. I’m going to play the best three guys, whoever they are.
If we’re down in an overtime game and a close game, we will need to make good plays and make good spots, and I think we are well on our way to doing that.