Quotes from Coach: Depth, Competition Defining WVU Camp - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quotes from Coach: Depth, Competition Defining WVU Camp

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MORGANTOWN -

Dana Holgorsen never hid the fact that his team simply did not have enough bodies in his first year at West Virginia. In year two, he is already seeing what a difference the sheer number of players can have on a camp.

On Monday, the Mountaineers took the field for the fourth time in August as they continue to prepare for the 2012 season and with 25 practices remaining, Holgorsen is pleased with the depth his squad is developing at key positions.

"We have about 40 freshmen that are all taking a bunch of reps, which is fun," says Holgorsen, adding that many positions are working three deep at this point. "We're running more team plays than we did last year, we're running more skill plays than we did last year, more inside plays than we did last year, because we can, because we have more bodies."

The increase in numbers will help not only what can be accomplished in practice, but also on the field this fall. Putting together enough players to rep three-deep on offense and defense is good early in camp as a way to gauge where an athlete fits on special teams as well as offensively or defensively.

Holgorsen has said since he arrived at WVU that he would like to play more freshmen and in his second year, he appears poised to do so. He notes that he believes the number of first-year players who will break into the lineup will jump into the double digits and that is where this early evaluation can be so important.

"There will be times when I'm calling plays offensively, and I don't even watch what happens offensively, I'm just watching specific people, and where they need to fit on specific special teams," says Holgorsen. "We're, in the back our minds, saying where can that guy help us on special teams?"

Holgorsen points to freshmen receivers like Devonte Robinson, Devonte Mathis, Will Johnson and Travares Copeland as young players who could get real action this fall in addition to "Squirt," better known as Jordan Thompson.

"That guy – he's something," Holgorsen says, shaking his head. "He'll play, obviously, as a true freshman."

The real surprise in terms of freshmen standing out this early in camp comes on the offensive line. Any coach will tell you that the o-line is the toughest position to crack the rotation as a freshman, and yet two are getting reps with the second team.

"Tyler Orlosky and [Adam] Pankey are running second string, I've never had two freshman run second string," says Holgorsen. "That can change if they start getting overloaded or maybe some other guys pick things up. The physical nature of these guys is pretty good from a freshman standpoint."

With shoulder pads on, Monday's practice took on a far more physical feel than Thursday's opener. Hard blocks and big hits led to fights, some of which Holgorsen sees as a positive while the Mountaineers wait for an opponent that wears a different colored uniform.

"We're not fighting because we hate each other. We're fighting because the aggressive nature of what these kids are like," he says. "We had more fights than I would've liked today, but there are people across the country that would like to trade places with me because they can't get their guys to fight."

The aggression was obvious on day four and with 25 practices – and the start of two-a-days – ahead, the intensity stands to pick up in the summer heat.

On Monday, Holgorsen had to break up the fight and make the team do a few up-downs. Unless they get out of hand, though, the energy in practice will be something to feed off of rather than something to try to stop.

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