Coach Magee: One Week to Go

Offensive Coordinator Calvin Magee goes from "soup to nuts" in this long interview. Get a cup of coffee, then sit back and enjoy!

Question: Rod was talking quite a bit about the true freshman and how if they are playing significant roles. What have you seen from those guys and the two veterans that are kind of back?

Calvin Magee: "Well it is has been fun to watch those young boys, because they are competing their tails off. They have both had good camps. I think there will be a place for them. I feel real excited about watching those guys get after it. It seems like they have been here a while. They are still learning, still got a lot to learn and are still making mistakes, but boy are they exciting to watch, I can tell you that."

Question: What skills do they bring?

Calvin Magee: "They are versatile. They can catch the ball out of the backfield. They actually can carry the football. Move them around and do a lot of stuff and that has been fun to watch, along with Tay Odoms and Terrence (Robinson); all those freshmen are doing a really good job."

Question: Offensive line wise, do you feel like you are going to get the blocking that you are going to need to make holes for those guys and protect the quarterback and all that?

Calvin Magee: "Well we're still working on it. We're still working on it. Those guys are working their tails off. The good thing is they are all working hard and that has been fun to watch. You see flashes and then, us coaches we always want it to be so perfect and you always find the faults, but they working at it and they doing a good job of it."

Question: Coach Rod said yesterday was a hands off kind of day for the coaches. Can you explain what it was like yesterday and what the guys went through?

Calvin Magee: "Yeah after two weeks of grinding and teaching and coaching you want to kind of cut them loose and see what they can do on their own … and for the most part they did pretty good job, especially the young kids. The older kids were here in the spring and they knew a lot of this stuff. So we cut the young boys loose and to how they did. They would look at us, and we wouldn't say anything yesterday. So they had to do it on their own and they did a good job."

Question: Any of the freshman taking snaps at quarterback or how many guys are taking snaps at quarterback?

Calvin Magee: "We got four. We got those two guys and then we got (David) Cone and (Justin) Feagin is working out a little bit."

Question: I mean running back wise.

Calvin Magee: "No, no, none of that. They've got their heads swimming right now trying to learn the running back stuff. So we are still working on that."

Question: Were you hoping to have one guy separate themselves at the quarterback position at this point?

Calvin Magee: "Yeah of course, you want that the quicker the better so you can settle in, but when it is so close and they are competing … We want 11 guys to separate themselves so that we can make it clear to us. We always tell them: make it clear, make it clear who is the best guy and that is at every position. We've got some good competition going."

Question: Is that healthy for a team?

Calvin Magee: "That is healthy. Of course it is healthy."

Question: How about (Sam) McGuffie and (Michael) Shaw, the true freshmen backs?

Calvin Magee: "Honestly all of the freshmen skill guys have done wonderfully to be quite honest to you. Naturally those two guys are getting a lot of reps. We have had some people out and so they get more reps … but we also have some young tight ends that are doing really well. We have some young receivers that are doing really well. It is fun to watch."

Question: The extra reps that they are getting now; how will that help them in the long run?

Calvin Magee: "It is going to help them tremendously. Because normally you have to fit them in and you have to find their reps for them, but this made it pretty simple to get them more reps. We were going to do it anyways, but they've been thrown out there early and they had to learn it early, so it helps."

Question: There has been a lot of talk about Carson Butler's conditioning in the off season; how has he looked so far? And you talk about the tight ends, where does he figure in?

Calvin Magee: "He has done well and he is working hard every day. Honestly, he has been a good kid and he has got a lot of abilities. So naturally there is some stuff that he needs to learn about what we want in this offense, but he and those other tight ends are competing."

Question: Can you talk about the progress that Kevin Koger has made so far?

Calvin Magee: "Again, I am talking in general terms, I know, but all of the freshmen have been very impressive and Kevin is one of them. I am excited about coaching him. I think he is going to be a pretty good player."

Question: You had an all conference running back every year at West Virginia, when you look at your roster and your running backs in particular, do you see anybody that can step up and be all conference performers in the Big Ten?

Calvin Magee: "We have some caliber guys, I believe. But so much goes into what we are doing on offense and all of that stuff. We feel good about the group; I will tell you like that."

Question: Do you see any of the quarterbacks stepping up as a leader?

Calvin Magee: "Well the two guys getting the most reps both are right now. They are starting to understand what we want from them and that is starting to show, and that is why the competition is so tight, because they are both starting to come forward."

Question: Is there a fail safe that if the line isn't blocked, is there a way as an offensive coordinator to combat that problem?

Calvin Magee: "That is in general terms. It is not just about inexperience and all that stuff. There are safe things that you can go to help protect them and add some additional blocking. Football, no matter, it is not just inexperience. It is whether you are getting overwhelmed with experience. Their guys are just getting the best of your guys. So all of that is part of the system, all of that should be part of every offense system. You have ways to help those guys and ways to help our quarterback with packages, protection."

Question: Does your offense system cater to that?

Calvin Magee: "The offensive system that we run caters to all of the problems that can occur and having all the answers that they present themselves; so yeah we be okay."

Question: Have you looked at the sort of advent guard spread offenses that are going on these days; down in Piedmont High School, the A11, do you know about this?

Calvin Magee: "No, I don't know about that."

Question: Where they are putting like three guys in the middle of the field and four guys all the way on the sideline. I have even heard that Texas Tech maybe…?

Calvin Magee: "I have seen forms of that before in the past. Pod offenses."

Question: Have you experimented with the pods?

Calvin Magee: "We have always joked around but that was a while back. Here is the bottom line. You still have to be very sound and very fundamental in any offensive plans. Those things are good and I am not knocking them, but football goes on forever. Football still goes back to blocking and reading runs, reading coverages. All that stuff is camouflage."

Question: In your offense, I assume most of the time the defenses are going to have one high is that what you expect to see? One or two high most the time.

Calvin Magee: "It is a variety. You may see no high. It depends on what those defensive guys wants to try to attack us with; blitz this offense, but you better have answers for all of it."

Question: Is one of the advantages of the spread that it is relatively easier for the quarterback to make a read pre-snap, because he is going to see one high, man free and the difficulties will come as the play unfolds, as his read happen…?

Calvin Magee: "I think the biggest problem that defense faces is tempo. As far as the quarterback reads, we saw everything, no high, one high, two high, three high. So I mean it does not necessarily make it easier that you always want to see single high."

Question: Coach said that Steven Threet started out the fall a little, he called it sluggish and has come on this week more. What have you seen out of him in his performance?

Calvin Magee: "The same. The same. The camp starts, throw a lot at them and naturally he may struggle here with some things but as camp went things got settled down with much improvement, which helped make the competition closer. So I see the same thing."

Question: What is he doing that you like right now and what are you still concerned about?

Calvin Magee: "I will be honest. I haven't paid that much…to be quite honest with you, I am looking at everything in the big picture and I have been pleased overall. We got a lot of stuff in and the guys; we are making our mistakes but they are minimal and are correctable. I am pleased with how much we have in, as compared to the spring, because we have thrown a lot at them and they have handled it."

Question: Same question with Nick (Sheridan); what has he done this fall that you have noticed?

Calvin Magee: "Just attention to detail. I think just understanding the offense better now for what we are looking for and how we want him to think about being that guy on the field. I think he has got a better understanding of what we have seen and how we wanted him to see it."

Question: However it gets picked, how does that quarterback get picked? Does the quarterback coach pick it, do you have input, does Coach Rodriguez say that is the guy?

Calvin Magee: "Coach Rodriguez makes the personnel decisions of the offense."

Question: But do you all have a voice in how you think that…?

Calvin Magee: "Coach is great about that. We all have input and a voice, but naturally he makes that decision that offensive decision."

Question: Which position group have you paid the most attention to?

Calvin Magee: "The most, I want to say all of them, but I coach the tight ends and slot receivers, so naturally I am with them more. So my own position is tight ends and slot receiver, but I got my eyes on all of it."

Question: As you get ready for Utah, how much will you get away from just your general preparation; I mean what kind of things do you want to see your offense accomplish in the Utah when you try to move the ball?

Calvin Magee: "Just execution. We have already studied Utah. We are going to continue to study them. We are going to get more into them now. We just want to worry about us and how we execute and how we running our plays, the rest will take care of itself. I am more concerned about us; how we do."

Question: Last year your offense at West Virginia was pretty much dynamite all year long except for the Pittsburgh game. Did Pitt do something unusual?

Calvin Magee: "I have always said … what Pitt did we had seen before and handled it before. I have always said, every game you go to and look at that you might have trouble in; it is normally you who is the problem and not the other team. That was the case, we didn't play real well; we didn't execute real well, but we had seen that plan before. It was discouraging to see how we played."

Question: Was Pitt bringing corners or something off the edge?

Calvin Magee: "Not really. It was as base as you would want to take. Everybody thinks that they did this elaborate; they outplayed us to be honest with you."

Question: You have seen Coach Rodriguez's system in terms of leadership over the past few years and it a different thing here, because they are used to having captains before the season; how has that worked out in the past and what is your take on the whole philosophy of it?

Calvin Magee: "I like it, because captains need to earn (that title). We have things in place that kind of helps with that with the apostles. They are the leaders; the seniors are the leaders. Anybody can lead, so we encourage that, you don't have to be a senior or apostle to lead, but I have liked it. I thought it was a great situation. Then you name captains after the season. He has always done that and it has been great with the places that we have been."

Question: Having some of those younger guys as apostles, does that maybe have them take more ownership and responsibility as classes do you think?

Calvin Magee: "I think it does. It does. Since there is no defined captain right away, anybody can step up and lead. Naturally if you are a leader, you are going to start leading your freshmen class and that is going to grow into the next class and all that stuff. I think it helps overall."

Question: Coach Rodriguez has been through a lot of drama since he has arrived; how has he handled that?

Calvin Magee: "He has been great. It is amazing. I have said it before. A lot of that stuff was unfair and most of it was wrong, but around here he still been a leader and the guy that has been day to day, just going to work. He has always stayed focused on that with us at least, I don't know what he do when he pull off, but he has been great around us. I haven't seen a whole lot of change because he has always been thick skinned and been able to handle it. He has kept that away from leading us."

Question: You think at any point that it really wore him down, all the outside?

Calvin Magee: "Not openly. I know Rich really well. I know that it bothered him. I know that it was so unfair that it should have bothered (him), but the thing about Rich is that he didn't waver around here. He kept leading us, guiding us. Kept the focus, kept the vision on what we were going to do here and we never felt it from that standpoint, but I knew that we had to wear him down."

Question: On Rich Rodriguez.

Calvin Magee: "He is a great guy. He really truly is a family guy. He really cares about what he is doing. All that legal stuff, that legal stuff is behind him now and all that stuff, but he is a great guy. He is just a great person, along with being a real good football coach, a great football coach. You have to be around him to know that."

Question: How much do you adjust your offense to that defense or to the strength and weakness; how much do you just want to impose what you do on the defense?

Calvin Magee: "That's the goal. We want to do what we do and make them doing the adjustments and by going fast tempo, I think we do that. Naturally, you are not going to do anything stupid if the defense is doing something to cause you a problem, but the first goal for us is to do what we do. I think sometimes you make mistakes trying to change just because your defense is doing something. We are going to do what we do and make them do the adjustments."

Question: Have you been in a situation where you have so little experience throughout the offense and how do you deal with that?

Calvin Magee: "No, no. Coach them like…get them experience in a hurry. Force feed it on them in practice. Actually you can't spend a lot of time worrying about that. One of the things we talked the first day of offensive meetings is ‘no excuses for no experience'. We are going to play the games. Teams are going to show up. We got to play 11 out there, so we are going to play ball and teach on the run. We are going to try to teach them on the run. They are going to make their mistakes; we are going to correct t

hem and try to get experience quicker." Question: What do you see from the offensive line.

Calvin Magee: "Balance. Yeah, four new starters or something like that. They are balanced. You really won't tell until we actually up against other people. But they are balanced. The best thing for our O-line is they go against…they gain experience every day. You know who we got on the defensive line that is experienced as it gets and they see it every day. To go against those guys, Will Johnson, Terrance Taylor, (Tim) Jamison and (Brandon) Graham and all of that, that is every day that they get it. So they getting experience every day, trust me."

Question: Are you rotating them in and out against the top….?

Calvin Magee: "That is who they go against every day, so they getting it every day of practice."

Question: What other teams beside Utah have you spent any kind of time on preparing for over the summer?

Calvin Magee: "12. We got 12 games. So naturally you spend more time with the first three opponents. Then we got a couple others that we studied pretty good."

Question: Ohio State?

Calvin Magee: "You guessed. You made that guess."

Question: For the past few years at West Virginia you have run the ball about 70% of the time, is that a goal that you want to approach this year or is that just something you did because of the talent that you had; what is your goal for like a breakdown for that?

Calvin Magee: "First I am going to change your stat a little bit. It is a true stat; we did run it 70% of the time. It doesn't mean that 70% of the calls were runs. We had a quarterback that was pretty good and would take off, but understand play calling that wasn't always 70% play calling runs; you understand that difference?"

Question: Yeah.

Calvin Magee: "No, we're excited about our receivers, we really are. We want to be more balanced. We want to play to a lot of those guys strengths and I think you will see a little difference there. That number may change a little bit. But understand we are going to do what we need to do to win or give us a chance to win. I don't know what those numbers will show, but if those were numbers then those were the numbers."

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