Camp Holgorsen: Defense is Progressing

West Virginia head football coach Dana Holgorsen spent most of his Tuesday press conference discussing the defense's improvement. The first-year head coach said the progression on the defensive side of the ball, particularly on Monday perhaps because of the lower temperature, is due to the increased intensity and energy.

"You've got to have a little bit of an edge to be good on defense," he said. "From a schematic standpoint, they're still making mistakes … but from an effort, energy and excitement standpoint, the bar has been set."

Holgorsen continued to tout his veterans on defensive including senior linebacker Najee Goode, senior cornerback Keith Tandy, senior defensive end Bruce Irvin and junior safety Terence Garvin.

In addition, Holgorsen said junior nose tackle Jorge Wright had his best day of camp on Monday. Wright is coming off of a summer suspension and is battling for the starting spot to replace departed Washington Redskin Chris Neild.

Holgorsen said that he's making an effort to be inside the defensive huddle at times to try to get to know that side of the ball a bit better.

"I get in there, because I don't know what the heck they're talking about anyway," Holgorsen said. "I just mess around with them a bit – kind of give them some encouragement or some crap – whatever I feel like doing."

  • Holgorsen said he's happy with the way that his staff has come together over the summer and through fall camp.

    The entire defensive staff returns from 2010, but the Mountaineers have a completely new offensive staff.

    "Right now, I couldn't be happier with how everyone is getting along and meshing," he said. "If we can keep that up, it will probably translate into the players being on the same page to the point that we'll probably win a lot of games."

  • Less than a week after Holgorsen sent an email to the student body and asked the media if it had ideas for more quarterbacks for the team's roster, the Mountaineers have found a fourth signal caller.

    Kentucky walk-on transfer Michael Burchett practiced for the first time for WVU on Tuesday. He threw for more than 3,000 yards as a senior in high school.

    Burchett will be eligible to play this season, because he was not a scholarship player at Kentucky.

    "We glanced at his high school tape when he contacted us," Holgorsen said. "He's a very, very good student, and he's going to go into our engineering department."

    WVU now has starter Geno Smith, backup Paul Millard and walk-on Ian Loy at the position alongside Burchett.

  • West Virginia redshirt junior offensive lineman John Bassler went the hospital during practice on Monday for an injury. But, Holgorsen said Bassler was "going to be fine."

    Bassler was diagnosed with a stinger and concussion.

  • Starting senior defensive tackle Julian Miller is still day-to-day with a lower leg injury, Holgorsen said.

    It seems redshirt freshman Will Clarke has made an impact in Miller's place, though, as he has been brought up at least two times in Holgorsen's post-practice press conferences this fall.

  • Holgorsen said offensive lineman Pat Eger has passed up redshirt freshman Quinton Spain on the depth chart at right tackle.

    That position, along with running back and a few others, are still up in the air, the coach said.

    "We're 13 practices in, but we still have a long way to go," he said.

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