Holgorsen presser transcript: Day 1

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

West Virginia opened fall camp today in Morgantown. Here's the transcript from coach Dana Holgorsen's press conference, as transcribed by the WVU athletic department.

Opening statement:

We had a good first day. Everybody in the country has a good first day, I promise you that. The guys were pretty fired up about being out there. We had good energy and got done what we wanted to get accomplished. It’s non-padded, non-contact, but I thought it went well. A couple of deals here – I know you guys were going to ask. There are three guys who are not here – actually five guys who are not here – three guys who are on the physically unable to perform list. They are here, but they can’t participate. (Wide receiver) Jackie Marcellus had knee surgery, so he is out until January. (Offensive Lineman) Amani Brown is still recovering from knee surgery. He will more than likely be practicing the first day of school. (Offensive Lineman) Russell Haughton-James is not able to go right now. He will probably be back the first day of school. We are still waiting on (Offensive Lineman) Dontae Angus and (Wide Receiver) Jacob McCrary for eligibility situations. Injuries: (Linebacker) KJ Dillon is out probably for about a week or so. He’s got a twisted ankle. It happened on his break, when he was gone for five days, but we will be good to go in about a week. (Linebacker) Brandon Golson is recovering from that shoulder surgery. He looks good out there. He will just have to be non-contact for a while. (Linebacker) Jared Barber is still in red and probably don’t anticipate him to be able to go for probably about another month. Other than that, everybody looks good. I thought we’ve had a great summer. I thought Strength Coach Mike Joseph and the strength staff have done a great job getting these guys ready to play. I sense that our bodies look different than they have since I’ve been here. We have a lot of numbers, and we have a lot of healthy bodies. That makes it fun and exciting as we continue to move forward with camp.

On Offensive Lineman Walter Rauterkus

He decided not to play football. He was here during the summer and decided this wasn’t for him. He went home, and he is no longer on the team.

On Defensive Back Jaylon Myers

Still waiting. I don’t want to really comment on it. But we’re still waiting.

On if an emphasize was placed on bulking up physically in the offseason

No. I think strength coach Mike Joseph’s plan of attack this season was very similar to last season. I think our attitude, our mentality – it means a lot to us. The commitment level from our guys I thought was as high as it’s been since I’ve been here for sure.

On what Safety Dravon Henry has done to prove his value

We worked with him all summer. We weren’t able to work with a specific ball, but we were able to sit in here and meet with them. We were able to go outside and be a part of the conditioning stuff, which could be part of conditioning or changing-direction type stuff. We were able to do some specific technique-type stuff with them. It just seems like it’s easier to go out there day one because of the stuff we were able to do with them all summer. We’re not the only ones – that’s everyone in the country obviously. Especially with these young guys, it’s not just brand new to them. Even take a guy like Quarterback William Crest, as well. We been able to coach them in our offseason for the last two months. The things we’ve been saying to them today – he’s already heard it for two months. It definitely gets them ahead, and it gives us an evaluation of these guys. That hasn’t existed in the past.

On Henry’s abilities that have impressed the staff

He’s big and fast and has a good mentality. He picks things up pretty quickly. He’s ahead of the curve for a true freshman, that’s for sure.

On Defensive Lineman Shaquille Riddick and Offensive Lineman Stone Underwood

We lined up Riddick as a third-team defensive end. Stone Underwood is our next offensive linemen in the game. He’s the next guy in. He plays center, and he plays guard. There are unknowns because we were not able to work with Shaq throughout the summer, because he just graduated. Today was the first time that we looked at him in person. He was running third team.

On Running Back Wendell Smallwood

Wendell Smallwood is where he was at the end of camp. He had a great summer. Obviously, he was not with us for about a 10-day period. He is an integral part of what we’re going to be doing offensively. It’s hard to put these running backs on an actual depth chart right now, because we’ve got so many of them. We’re going to be able to rep them and rep them and rep them and kind of sort out which guys do what, figure out what our game plan is going to be, then plug these guys in as we see fit. It’s really hard to develop a depth chart a running back.

On if the Decrease in Contact in Preseason Going to Impact Preparation

I don’t think it’s going to affect us at all. I went back and looked at how many times we actually tackled last fall in our camp, and we actually tackled on 13 of the days. This year we can only tackle on 12 of the days. Again, I could have them tackle everyday if I really wanted to. It’s not legislation, it’s just a recommendation, but we’re going to follow the recommendation. I don’t think it’s going to affect us at all. We will still have 12 days where we can tee it up and tackle. We’ll still be in pads for, I think, three, or four, or five days. We won’t take them to the ground, but there will still be some contact.

On the Options at Inside Wide Receiver Without Jacky Marcellus

It’s (the depth) still better than it’s been since I’ve been here. (Wide receiver) Jordan Thompson looks good. (Wide receiver) Daikiel Shorts looks good. Those two guys were our two inside guys last year. We’re trying (Wide Receiver) KJ Myers a little bit right there. KJ has been around more than any receiver that we’ve had. He’s going into his fourth year here, so he knows every position. He’s got the body type where he can play inside or outside. (Wide Receiver) Lamar Parker is an inside guy. Lamar made some plays today that surprised me, so he’s another option. All those running back guys – We’ve talked about (running back) Wendell Smallwood being an inside receiver. We’ve talked about (running back) Andrew Buie doing a good job at being an inside receiver. (Tight End/Fullback) Cody Clay has done a good job at being an inside receiver. We’ve got more options than we’ve had since I’ve been here.

On the Chemistry that has been Developed

There is a comfort level that exists right now that I’m very pleased with. Our coaching staff has a great relationship with each other. The chemistry with our coaching staff – I couldn’t be more pleased with. We’ve been able to spend more time with our players. We’ve got a full roster. We sat in here and taught our punt team today, and the entire two-deep was the same entire two-deep that it was last year. We led the conference in net punting, and we weren’t teaching any new guys today. The chemistry and the continuity right now is better than it’s been since I’ve been here.

On the Experience of the Team in General

We’re sitting at about 20 seniors. There was a point where I didn’t know if we would have 10 seniors in this class. Adding some transfers, getting some kids to stay here, adding some junior college guys, and those guys doing a good job academically has put us in a position where we have a decent senior class. The junior class is the one that’s the biggie. There are 27-28 guys there that have played and are going on their third year now. When we didn’t want to play them as the freshmen, the one thing it gave us was them going into their junior year with a lot of snaps.

On Quarterback Clint Trickett

His sense of urgency, the way he’s reading signals and getting the ball snap is night and day compared to what it was at any point last year. It’s just nice to be able to not have to coach a guy every single play. You can call it, and he does it, and you just move on to the next one. He’s in a good place, and we will continue to develop his leadership skills and his continuity with the rest of the receivers. There’s a real comfort level right now with him and (center) Tyler Orlosky and the receivers that exists right now that didn’t exist at any point last season.

On Quarterback Clint Trickett Avoiding Hits and Staying Healthy

We will study that on film today, even with it being non-contact. He’s still going to have to understand – ‘I didn’t trigger the ball here, and I would have gotten hit. I worked out of the pocket and tried to get away from a defender, and I didn’t throw it when he got within an arms reach of me.’ – we will be able to work on that through reps, even though the defense won’t touch him this camp. We will be able to say ‘Look, man. You should have done this to avoid that hit.’ He needs to continue to improve on that.

On Quarterback Logan Moore

He does everything for us. He’s got a role on this team. He’s an extra arm, he’s an emergency quarterback, he’s an inside receiver, and he’s a special teams player. He’s a guy who’s just a role player, and we’re glad he’s here.

On Quarterback William Crest’s First Day

His head is spinning. We have to force-feed him reps. He just looks different than anyone else out there. He’s going to make a ton of mistakes, and it’s our job to keep him up and keep coaching him. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s strong, and he’s got a good arm. There’s a reason we recruited him for three years.

On Social Media Among Players

We talk to them all the time. (Director of Football Communications) Mike Montoro talked to them about it last night. I reiterated everything he said. Our coaches follow each and every one of our players. If you abuse it, it’s going to be gone. They chose to play at West Virginia University. We can do what we want about social media. Our guys are pretty good about it. I’m sure you follow a lot of these guys. We try to keep our eye on it. If guys aren’t representing West Virginia University, West Virginia Football and West Virginia athletics the way that they’re supposed to, then there will be repercussions with it.

On Safety Cullen Christian

He’s a guy we haven’t seen much of. We had Dayron Wilson at the one today. Dayron has done a good job for us. He was a walk-on, junior college guy from Lackawanna who may have been their best defensive player a year ago. He had a good spring. He’s repping there, and Cullen is repping there as well.

On if the close losses a year ago serve as frustration or motivation

Our team feels like we’re better at every position. You can make an argument that we are. We lost two guys to the NFL who are great players. We may have to replace those guys with the combination of a couple guys. They’re definitely using it as motivation. Definitely disappointing that we didn’t win some of those close games, and we’re not very happy about it. We have worked diligently to get ourselves in position and show improvement.

On if bad habits were limited on day one after individual workouts over summer

There are always bad habits. When you can’t use a ball and can’t go against each other during the summer, then you have to work those bad habits out on day one. I see a difference in their mentality. We’re coaching them how to do it - how to do it better. Bad habits are always going to exist. The mental aspect of it – I see a big difference. Maybe that’s just because we have a lot experience back. 

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#SEENonTV: "Pittsburgh Today Live" August Events Preview

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

Here is a round-up of just some of the great events I will be checking out this August here in the city, as well as what's new with the column. If you have any events you would like coverage for, please don't hesitate to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tweet me @NBSeen.


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Penguins sign Spaling - 07-31-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins avoided arbitration with restricted free agent forward Nick Spaling (right) and signed him to a two-year contract worth a total of $4.4 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.5 million, Spaling's new contract will have a cap hit of $2.2 million. Appearing in 71 games last season, Spaling, 25, scored 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists).

Spaling was acquired along with forward Patric Hornqvist from the Predators in exchange for forward James Neal during last month's draft.

The Penguins and Spaling were scheduled to have an arbitration hearing today. He had sought a figure of $2.85 million per season while the Penguins countered with figure of $1.85 million.

After this signing, the Penguins have $4,230,833 of salary cap space according to They are still trying to re-sign restricted free agent forward Brandon Sutter.

-EN Says: The person on the Penguins happiest with this signing, aside from Spaling of course, might be Sutter.

After seeing a rogues gallery of below-average players such as Matt D'Agostini, Andrew Ebbett, Taylor Pyatt, Chris Conner, Chuck Kobasew and others struggle on the third line wings last season, Spaling represents an upgrade. He should provide a higher level of skill on the third line wing than Sutter saw at any point last season.

Spaling is a versatile player who can man any of the forward position. He also plays in virtually any situation having logged plenty of ice time on the penalty kill (1:31 per game) and power play (1:10) last season.

Advanced statistics don't reflect well on Spaling's 2013-14 season but he was stuck on a poor Predators team last season which drug his possession numbers down. If you look at players with comparable salary cap numbers via, Spaling's contract seems more than fair.

(Photo: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

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Empty Netter Assists - 07-31-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-The owner of Iceoplex, the Penguins' practice rink, is in some hot water over alleged tax evasion.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins released their preseason schedule.

-Former Penguins forward Mikael Samuelsson (above) has joined Djurgården of Sweden's SHL.

-Happy 52nd birthday to former Penguins forward Troy Murray. Acquired at the 1995 trade deadline along with Norm MacIver in a deal which sent Martin Straka to the Senators, Murray appeared in 13 regular season games and scored two points for the Penguins in 1994-95. In the playoffs, he saw action in 12 games and netted three points. In the 1995 offseason, he joined the Avalanche as a free agent. He currently works as a broadcaster for the Blackhawks.

-Happy 28th birthday to the best No. 2 center in hockey:

-Happy 73rd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Paul Andrea. Acquired in the 1967 offseason along with George Konik, Dunc McCallum and Frank Francis in a trade which sent Larry Jeffrey to the Rangers, Andrea spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. During the franchise's innagural season of 1967-68, Andrea appeared in 65 games and produced 32 points. In 1968-68 he only saw action in 25 games and scored 13 points. The following offseason, Andrea and John Arbour were traded to Vancouver of the Western Hockey League in exchange for Bryan Hextall, Jr. In 90 games with the Penguins, Andrea scored 45 points.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Devils signed defenseman Andy Greene to a five-year contract worth a total of $25 million. Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $3 million, Greene's new deal will have a cap hit of $5 million. Appearing in 82 games last season, Greene, 31, scored 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists).

-EN Says: Think Paul Martin Lite. Greene is a classic Devils defenseman who is remarkably composed in virtually every situation. He doesn't blow you away with any one skill but seems to do just about everything well. One could argue he's New Jersey's most valuable player. His age and the length of this deal might be reason for concern but he's more than worth this money in the short term.

-The Blue Jackets re-signed restricted free agent forward Dana Tyrell to a one-year two-way contract.

-The Blue Jackets signed former Maple Leafs forward Jerry D'Amigo to a one-year two-way contract.

Central Division

-Forward Paul Statsny is returning home by signing with the Blues.

-How does Stars general manager Jim Nill use advanced statistics?

Smythe Division

-Former Bruins defenseman Jon Rohloff has filed a lawsuit against the NHL alleging the league took insufficient action to reduce brain injuries caused by concussive and sub-concussive impacts.

-Former Predators forward Simon Moser has joined Bern of Switzerland's NLA.

(Photos: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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Faux spinach is beautiful and productive all summer

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog red malabaraRed Malabar spinach is beautiful and tasty. Photos by Doug Oster

blog red malabar viningRed Malabar spinach climbs a windmill in the vegetable garden.Anyone who has tried to grow conventional spinach in our climate understands the challenge of harvesting the leaves during the summer.

Just a few consecutive hot days will force the plant to bolt and send up seed. When this happens the foliage becomes bitter and inedible.

Red Malabar spinach isn't a spinach at all. It's a tropical vine which produces heart shaped leaves which taste a lot like spinach.

Unlike "real" spinach, this plant loves hot weather, but can't take any frost.

The vines are deep red and the glossy leaves are pretty too. It's a fast climber during the heat of summer.

Malabar spinach produces mild tasting foliage which can be used in any recipe as a spinach substitute. It's wonderful to snack on in the garden too.

This is also a great time to sow some regular spinach seed as temperatures moderate to replace the Malabar when a frost kills the vines. We'll have some hot weather through August, but the cool nights should keep the spinach from bolting. I always sow some seeds now and at then again end of August. Spinach loves cold weather and can be picked through the winter.

Plants which are given a little protection can actually over winter and will thrive in the cold of March and April. It's my favorite way to grow the crop. It hits the ground running in  early spring and has a much longer harvest period before things warm up.

Malabar spinach is both beautiful and tasty. Something you might put on your seed list for next spring.



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