MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Select members of the West Virginia University football team met with the media on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, at the Milan Puskar Center Team Room.
On summer coaching
When I started this summer I was at 340, and now I’m 335. It was great to have the coaches during the summer, because now during camp, we don’t have to them teach as much on the field.
Clint looks great out there. He got stronger during the summer. Now we just have to make sure that he doesn’t get a lot of hits.
On the underclassmen
They look a lot stronger than last year, and switching (redshirt junior offensive lineman) Marquis Lucas
to the outside has been one of the best decisions our coaches have made. I feel like he’s quicker on the outside than he was at guard.
On the offensive line
We have different running blocks that give us more power, we are running different zones, and we have a lot more power. The chemistry is great now. I’ve played beside everyone that’s on the line now, so everyone is on the same page.
On playing Sam linebacker
I feel like I can play any position as long as I get a lot of reps at it, and I get a lot of practice with it. Sometimes I played Sam, sometimes I played Will last year, and that’s fine. It was a hassle, because I had to learn so many positions in the same game, but I did it. As of right now, as far as I know, I’m at Sam for good.
On depth of linebackers
It’s wonderful. As of right now, we have 18 linebackers on the depth chart. I’ve never seen that while I’ve been here. It really helps us stay healthy. Any one of the linebackers can play; we know the material very well. We have enough depth that we don’t need to be switched around.
We’re really gap-sound now. We’re not playing multiple gaps now. I know my gap, they know their gaps, and it makes it a lot sounder to play. It’s a lot less thinking and a lot more reacting.
On last two years at WVU
I feel like I was moving around at different positions for the most part. I was more secure my freshman year and stayed at Sam. I knew what I was doing. We were pretty high in depth then, too. Last year, we had to work around a lot of injuries. As far as the team, I think we all feel more confident this year. I’m more confident, because I know the depth that we have, the linebackers have the most depth on the team.
On Mike linebacker position
I enjoy playing Mike, it’s a little different than Sam, but I like it. I think I have some work to do, but I’m on my way. This is my third year playing inside, and I feel like I’ve made the adjustment. I still have work to do, and I still have tendencies of playing safety, but I think I’ll be all right.
On summer conditioning
I had the mindset that I wanted to come in and maximize my time. I came in each day like I wanted to get better. I wanted to make every minute in the weight room count. I wanted to put on some more muscle, and I wanted to gain a few pounds. I’m 238 pounds right now. I plan on staying at that weight. I’m eating right, and I’m staying hydrated. I didn’t feel much of a difference running or conditioning with the extra weight.
The summer coaching helped the new guys tremendously because they learned things before-hand. I realized I was more in football shape yesterday than before, and it puts that fire underneath us during the summer. I was a lot more ahead and refreshed on things that we went over during the spring. With the coaches there, we always knew what we had to do.
On first day of camp
Yesterday was good. My shoulder felt fine. I was pretty excited. This is my fifth camp so I’m pretty used to first days, but it was excited. I couldn’t insert myself in a leadership role last year, because I wasn’t named to it, but now I can. It’s what I want, and it’s what I’ve always been. At Florida State, I wanted to be a vocal leader. In high school, I was. I have to get back into that flow now because I know I’m the starter.
On team chemistry
The chemistry is better. Going into last season, we didn’t have a lot of guys who had played in Big 12 games. This year, we do. Everyone’s a lot hungrier and a lot more confident, and so am I.
My shoulder feels fine. Yesterday was a good day. I’m going to take precautions with it. I made all the throws I wanted to make. My deep throws are a little better right now than they were mid-season last year. There are a lot of guys out there and the young guys need reps, but we’re keeping count and keeping track. We’re keeping it around a certain number. I’m not necessarily in every drill, but I need to get through them.
I’m healthy. I haven’t had to back off yet. Hopefully it’s as good as I think it is.
Last year, I was down some weight. This year I’m going to take a different approach to it. We can get fed a lot more. I’m going to eat a lot more. I care a lot about this team, this state, and this university, and last year it was literally eating away at me that I couldn’t help. I think having that year of experience will help me.
On summer conditioning
Our first season being able to deal with the coaches and go through practices with them made it easier to transition into camp. I worked hard during the offseason, but I also think everyone did. We know what it means to the program, so I think that’s kind of why we pushed ourselves. We didn’t have a good season last year. That’s not what our program does, and that’s not how we like to represent it. We want to go to that playoff game, we want to be at a BCS bowl, and that’s our main goal right now. Anything that’s going to keep us from doing that is a distraction.
On the first day of camp
I think everybody was really excited, but I think everyone gets excited the first day. I think it’s the second and third days of camp that really show how it’s going to go, but yesterday was a really good practice and we all enjoyed it.
On first day of camp
The first day was pretty good. It was better than last year. It was nice to see how practice works this year and to see everyone come together and do their job. It really felt like a team.
On confidence in the wide receiver position
I’m really confident at this moment. I’ve been working on my craft and everything out there. I know everything, and it’s been a lot easier with the coaches this summer.
Inside is a lot different from the outside. We have to know our correct spot. It’s just different outside and it’s more one-on-one. I’m getting comfortable with myself. My main goal is to help my team and to keep up the confidence in everybody.
He looks healthy and strong. He gets it right to me, and he’s confident and it helps a lot. It helps all of our routes and plays. We worked on and off of the field during the summer. We have the connection with him. He’s doing great now. The offense was a little limited last year, because we were never sure of our quarterback situation.
It’s much easier now, because we have a lot of running backs and wide receivers, and we just open things up for them. We know what we’re doing. We all have confidence in Clint and in ourselves.
We expect things to be a lot different. We are together as one, and know what to do. People just have to wait and see how different we are going to be. The offense is a lot faster, because we know where to line up and we know the system.
On last season’s weight
I knew I had to start losing weight. I couldn’t get my knees up, and I couldn’t do what I used to do. It was strange to gain weight during the season. Coming in this year, I have a better mindset, and I know what I need to do.
On playing time
I’m just going to do whatever the coaches want. I’m going to do whatever they say.
I feel a lot better coming in this year and knowing the schemes of the defense better. I work hard, and I get extra work in when I can. I’ll use that to my advantage this year. Having a lot of running backs keeps all of us healthy. Once one of us come out the next one can do it. Other teams have great backs, but we will use ours to our advantage and do what we can with them.
On game change from last year
I’m more confident in everything I do. Blocking was my biggest problem last year. I’m going to use my weight. I underestimated the blocking aspect last year, and it also played a role in not knowing the schemes. I finally realized that I’m not just a running back, but a blocking back as well.
On season without Charles Sims
Charles brought something in that some of us couldn’t. He separated himself from us last year. Our bigger guys are showing bursts of energy, and we have a lot of big guys who can run. We are going to do whatever the coaches ask and just get it done.