Achievements and Goals

With spring practice well in the rearview mirror and fall camp a month away, running backs coach JaJuan Seider has had a chance to review what was accomplished in the spring and set his goals for the first weeks of August practices.

Seider didn't have to acclimate himself to a new job location when he returned to the West Virginia football coaching staff, so the former Mountaineer player and coach was able to hit the ground running when he got on the field with his new players for spring practice. Still, there were a few changes to be made on the part of both the players he was coaching and in his teaching of the techniques demanded by the current offensive system.

"There was a change from [former running backs coach Robert] Gillespie to me, so I wanted to get the kids comfortable around me. I think we did that," said Seider, who saw a positive response from the running backs. "The kids are working hard, and you could see them taking ownership of the drills. I want to see that carry over to the fall."

Creating that link is an important factor for Seider, who excels in building relationships in recruiting as well. He strove to seek a method of communication where he can quickly get and give feedback with his players.

"On the field, you have to be able to tell me why you did something and talk about it in the language we understand, so I can tell you if you were right or wrong in that situation," he explained.

Seider also changed a few of the drills that the running backs go through during individual sessions during practice, but those weren't made just for the sake of doing something new. Each had a goal in mind, and is designed to ingrain habits in each player.

"You want to put your own stamp on what you are doing, but a lot of things are very similar [in drills]," Seider said. "That's because the philosophy of what you are doing is the same. It's your drill so you have to teach it and use it the way you know to do it."

Seider also emphasized feedback as he taught those drills, to figure out what works and what doesn't. While he might not always make changes based on that, it's important for him to keep that communication going.

One item that always has Seider's attention is ball security. While techniques have changed over the years, moving to the current high and tight three-point lock technique, there hasn't been much change over the past few seasons. That doesn't mean he stops teaching it, though. In fact, it's a point of emphasis through every practice.

"The thing with ball security with me is that it starts when you walk on the field. Even in warmups I coach them on holding the ball right and try to pull it out [of their grasp]. Anytime they are running through I drill I might be hitting them with a bag to make sure they are hiding the ball and lowering their shoulder and 'getting skinny'. I want to make that become second nature."

Overall, the Florida native is pleased with the progress he saw in the spring, but as always spring just sets the base for the fall. Techniques must be polished, additions to practice work must be made, and overall familiarity must be improved if West Virginia is to have a smooth offensive performance come game day.

"Starting out [in the fall] I'm looking for carryover," Seider explained. "We ran certain plays better than we did other plays in the spring, so I want to see how much they studied during the summer. They had cut ups and film to work with. Maybe we didn't stay front side enough on an inside zone play. So I need to see if they improved on that."

Seider also faces the challenge of getting a bevy of backs comfortable with three different quarterbacks, any of whom might be the starter on Aug. 31.

"We rotated guys through the spring, so they worked with the quarterbacks during the spring, and we'll do that during fall camp too, because one of the keys to fall camp is keeping them fresh and ready to go when the season starts," he noted.

While that is true as far as it goes, WVU has added two players that didn't participate in the spring (quarterback Clint Trickett and running back Charles Sims), so it might be tough to get all of them acclimated with each other in a short amount of time. Seider believes that the fall schedule will allow enough time to do that, especially over the last couple of weeks when the key players are identified and get more practice reps.

"It's always a little different," he said of ball exchanges from one quarterback to the next. "One guy may put the ball a little lower or another a little higher. That's why you have to have those mesh drills where you work on that. We work on that five or ten minutes every practice."

"Mesh" might end up being the key word to describe Seider's work this year. He's worked to establish that with his players on a personal and coaching level, and he has to be sure that the players on the field achieve it as well. The success level of those efforts will be the building blocks upon which the running backs, as well as the entire offense, are built for the 2013 season.


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