West Virginia head football coach Dana Holgorsen is eight days into fall practice and about three weeks from kicking off against Marshall. But, the Mountaineers' first-year head coach is worried about his team – and nobody else.
"It's just about staying the course on offense, defense and special teams," he said following his team's practice on the grass field behind the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility. "As long as their effort is good and their energy is good, which I've been really happy with, then the rest of it should get better."
Holgorsen said having energy and staying focused are the biggest keys to improving over the final weeks before the season opener against the Thundering Herd on Sept. 4.
A challenge for most teams is trying to keep fall practices from becoming monotonous, and Holgorsen said the coaching staff tries to change it up from time to time to make sure that doesn't happen.
"You're going to get tired of practicing against each other, but that happens everywhere," he said. "After that two to three weeks are up, you get more into a game plan mode against the scout teams."
West Virginia conducted 30 plays as a team and another 30 plays of situational drills with officials on Saturday. Holgorsen was pleased with the lack of pre-snap penalties and throughout camp.
Holgorsen was asked why on Friday he called center Joe Madsen one of the best he's coached at that position. While Madsen doesn't have long arms, Holgorsen said that Madsen has done well with the calls and snaps.
"He's a smart football player … He's tough, he has a quick first step and he blocks people," Holgorsen said.
Madsen, who was ruled ineligible for the Mountaineers' Champs Sports Bowl last December, seems to be good to go for the season, the coach said.
"He's done a lot to overcome the hole that he was in, and we're working with him and he's working with us to get all that rectified," Holgorsen said.
Holgorsen once again handed out compliments to freshmen running backs Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison. According to the coach, Buie scored three touchdowns during practice on Saturday.
For the second straight day, Holgorsen was pleased with the kicking game. He said that the unit was perfect during pre-practice drills and in the situational drills near the end of the practice on Saturday.
Starting defensive end Julian Miller was out of his boot for the first time in two days. He was still in a red jersey, though.
A day after having more than a handful of scouts on hand, the only scout on the practice field on Saturday was from the Indianapolis Colts.