Camp Holgorsen: Competition Heats Up

West Virginia head football coach Dana Holgorsen has preached the word "competition" throughout fall practice this year: Competition in singular position battles and in team situations.

For the first time this fall, it seemed the Mountaineers' head coach was pleased with what he saw in terms of competition.

"If it's one-sided, we're not going to be very good," Holgorsen said. "If we go through a whole day where the offense is playing good, then we took a step back on defense. If we go through a day where the defense is shutting us down defensively, then we stepped back on offense."

Holgorsen said that the defense gave up too many big plays in the team period, but that it came back and made a few stops near the end of practice.

"We practiced well. We've got a lot of team reps in," he said. "For two weeks, we just need to play football and get better. Then we'll watch film and get better."

For the first time since joining the team, Holgorsen seemed happy with the competition at receiver.

He said that sophomore Ivan McCartney and junior Stedman Bailey had their best days of fall camp. Holgorsen believes junior star Tavon Austin had his best day on Thursday. The first-year head coach also mentioned redshirt senior Willie Millhouse and Wake Forest transfer Devon Brown as standout performers over the last two days.

In addition to receivers, Holgorsen has been pleased with the play of the cornerbacks, specifically senior Keith Tandy and junior Pat Miller – the projected starters.

  • Holgorsen was asked which players, if any, stood out to him that the media weren't asking about thus far.

    He mentioned a number of players but spoke at length about kicker Tyler Bitancurt, who had his best day on Friday.

    Holgorsen said defensive end Will Clarke, safety Eain Smith and safety Terence Garvin were also standing out on defense.

  • West Virginia will bring in officials for Saturday's practice, but it won't scrimmage like in past years.

    Holgorsen did say that the team will work some situational drills with officials.

  • Holgorsen said that injured players are common when practicing as frequent as the team does in the fall. At no other point does the team practice as consistently as it does during fall camp with a number of two-a-days and fully padded workouts.

    "That group of guys will get bigger," he said. "But, the good thing is that we have five really mean strength coaches, and they work them hard."

    Holgorsen said three of the eight players in red jerseys in Friday's practice threw up, because of the tough workout.

    "That's unacceptable," he said jokingly. "We'll try to make at least 50 percent of them throw up tomorrow."

  • Holgorsen spoke about specific offensive line starters for the first time this fall, and it seems that he is pleased with four of the starters including left tackle Don Barclay, left guard Jeff Braun, center Joe Madsen and right guard Tyler Rader.

    The head coach is still looking for a right tackle, and he believes there are as many as four players in the running for that starting job. The leader, heading into the fall, was 338-pounder Quinton Spain.

    "The first four guys make a bunch of mistakes, but they are doing good," Holgorsen said. "We need one of them to step up."

    Holgorsen elaborated on Madsen, saying that he is the best center that Holgorsen has been around.

    "He's a good player," he said.

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