Time for the second part of my interview with West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, focused around the personnel on offense and his expectations for the team. In case you missed it, Part I ran Friday.
AA: How do you feel about the increased expectations now that you are head coach?
DH: Nobody has any higher expectations than I do. I don’t worry too much about what happens on the outside. I just worry about what our expectations are on the inside.
AA: One of the questions I have gotten the most is what is going to happen at running back. What do you expect come fall practice?
DH: I expect them to be competitive. That’s our deepest position. We have a couple older guys, mostly bigger guys in Shawne Alston, and Ryan Clarke. We’ve got two sophomores and three true freshmen that have a chance to be the guy. In the spring, we didn’t know who (Vernard) Roberts was in the first two or three practices, but he got better and better and took ahold of the spot toward the end of spring. (Dustin) Garrison and (Andrew) Buie, both highly successful players in high school, we’ll throw them in the mix and see which one comes out on top. It takes you two or three guys to be able to get it done, anyway.
AA: Geno Smith is getting a lot of mention right now as potential Big East Player of the Year and maybe even a dark horse for the Heisman. What is a realistic expectation for him?
DH: He needs to seize the opportunity so to speak. Experience isn’t one thing that he’s lacking. The experience in this offense is something he’s lacking, maturing both physically and mentally and leadership wise is something he has to expedite. He’s not young anymore. He’s got to get it done now. I like his body language right now. He likes to play football, but he needs to play at a high level all the time. That’s practice and games. He can’t have any days off.
AA: In respect to that, what did you see out of him in the spring?
DH: I didn’t view him as a guy who took some days off or anything like that. It’s just game day is different. You’ve got to prepare all week. That’s one thing I don’t know yet. I haven’t prepared for a game yet with him. How does he prepare? How does he study? How does he learn? How does he rally the troops and get everybody better? (Houston quarterback) Case Keenum made every player around him better and (Oklahoma State quarterback) Brandon Weeden studied like crazy. He knew the game plan and signals before I even signaled it. Geno has got to get on that level. Loving to play football and loving to compete is good on game day, but I’ve got to see it for six days out of him prior to game day.
AA: What are your biggest objectives now before fall practice starts?
DH: Continuing to unite as one, so to speak. We’ve got an existing defensive staff, new offensive staff, sides of the ball that haven’t played together. The only way to win championships is if you are truly a team. That needs to trickle down to the administration and the fans. There needs to be a high level of excitement surrounding Mountaineer football.