Here are some highlights from today’s weekly press conference with Dana Holgorsen.
It sounds like the team is happy to get back into a more normal routine this week. The week off between Marshall and James Madison was obviously not ideal – a schedule quirk they basically had to deal with.Holgorsen: “I’m excited about this week and getting into a routine. This is the first weekly routine that we’ve been able to have. We had plenty of time to prepare for Marshall and plenty of time to prepare for James Madison, so it’s good to get into a routine that we’re going to be in for the majority of the season,” said Holgorsen. “We have a good, quality team coming to Morgantown on Saturday. They’re 2-1, led by their defense.”
Maryland boasts a return specialist Stefon Diggs that some are comparing to WVU’s own Tavon Austin.
Holgorsen didn’t exactly dispute that...
Holgorsen: “On tape, he has some twitch, but there are a whole lot of kids that have twitch. He’s a Baltimore kid that wears No. 1 that’s a receiver and return guy - I guess they’re clones,” said Holgorsen with some obvious sarcasm. “I don’t know the kid, but he’s a good player.”
“Everybody else on our schedule is going to have a quick twitch return guy that can make plays and is problematic because of talent and all the rest. We faced a guy that was just like it in the bowl game last year. They’re called good players, and there are more than just Tavon Austin and Stefon Diggs across the country, I can assure you that. We don’t care who they are; we figure out what their schemes are and what we have to do to contain guys like that. It’s about our coverage units, and we spend a lot of time on kickoff coverage, we spend a lot of time on punt coverage and we have to get people down the field and make tackles.”
Holgorsen again answered questions about one of QB Geno Smith’s incredible stats: he’s thrown nine touchdowns and has just nine incompletions.
Has he been around a start like this before?
Holgorsen: “From a statistical standpoint, no. He’s done well. Completion percentage is awesome and throwing touchdowns is awesome. Taking care of the football is more important than those two stats, and he’s perfect on turnovers. He hasn’t thrown an interception, he’s doing a good job of taking care of the ball and I credit our receivers as well, as far as getting open and making catches.”
Holgorsen said game tape showed his team was “soft” when it gave up a third quarter safety against JMU.
Holgorsen: “Soft. Soft and not ready to play,” he said. “They were clearly playing harder than us. Other than the four snaps of goal line, the defense started slow. We gave up two drives all the way to the goal line, and yes I’m happy with the goal-line stands, they were tremendous, but we were really soft in the first two drives.
“Offensively, we looked like crap on the third-and-one. We went for it and were soft. We got the ball on the goal line, and we were soft. We were soft up front. We ran soft. It was just soft. They played with more effort and played harder than us for half of the third quarter.”
No real update on Dustin Garrison, just more of the same:
Holgorsen: “We’ll see how he does today. Each and every week we look to see if he’s getting stronger. He’s been practicing some, so we’ll see how he is and play him if we need him to play and if he is ready to play.
The Maryland rivalry
Holgorsen: “It’s important. This series is one of the few remaining rival games because it is a neighboring state and we have a history with them. This isn’t the last time we’re going to play; we’re going to continue to play. It’s going to mean a lot to a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons. From a regional standpoint, it’s very important.”