Players Media Session

  • By WVU Athletic Communications
  • |
  • August 11, 2017 04:08 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Select members of the West Virginia University football team met with the media on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Junior Wide Receiver David Sills V
On his thoughts of Friday’s scrimmage
It felt good. We have a lot of our stuff in now; we’ve been working at it for a couple weeks now just in camp and every day just getting repetitive on what we’ve been doing. But I think it’s good for us. We’re getting good timing down with (redshirt junior quarterback) Will (Grier). I think we’re showing good energy and we’ve been competing for a couple weeks, so I think it was good today.
On West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee’s message to the team
He was talking to us about how every school he’s been at, he has won a national championship – when he was at Colorado and Ohio State. So, we’re hoping to do the same. It’s always good to see him, it’s always good when he comes around the program. So, it was really good for him to come and talk to us (Thursday) at practice.
On how the defense is responding to the offense during camp
I think we’re very talented on both sides of the ball. I think the defense has some great players on the team and (associate head coach (defensive coordinator/linebackers) Coach (Tony) Gibson always has them schemed up and in the right places. But it goes both ways during practice and during camp. We’ve gotten them most of the time and they’ve gotten us a couple times. We’ve just been trying every day to be the best that we can and we go out there to beat them and they go out there to beat us. So, that’s how it goes. We have a competition; it’s a very friendly competition, but at the end of the day, we do want to beat them and they want to beat us. 
Sophomore Running Back Martell Pettaway
On how his body and mindset different now than when he first played against Iowa State last season
It’s different than against Iowa State. I am used to the game now so I am ready to jump in there and play.
On if it is easier to recognize defensive schemes now
Yeah, it’s way easier now. I’m used to it now, defense wise and on offense.
On what he envisions his role being this year
This year, when they call my number to just go in there and do what I can. They said that I am going to be the bruiser. That’s what I guess they envision me as.
On if he thinks of himself as a bruiser
Yeah, I think I am pretty physical.
Redshirt Senior Wide Receiver Ka’Raun White
On how receivers can help in the red zone
We just work on our releases that (assistant coach (receivers) Coach (Tyron) Carrier has been teaching us so we can create some separation and work in the back shoulder. We’ve got spot routes in the red zone. It’s just timing with (redshirt junior quarterback) Will (Grier). We get that down and (assistant coach (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks) Coach (Jake) Spavital will have a little faith in us with the red zone and passing the ball more in the red zone.
On how to create separation from defenders
Releases are the main thing, and then working your hands, getting (defensive back’s) hands off you. That’s always the key to making a catch or the (defensive back) deflecting the ball. So, as long as you work your release and use your hands, that should be your ball.
On Friday’s scrimmage
It was pretty good. The defense was onto us today because we were killing them all week, but we got better. There’s little things we’ve got to work on, but I think we did a good job today.
On this week of practice for the offense
Everything. Run the ball, pass the ball. We had some receivers making plays on both sides. Running backs, (redshirt senior tight end/fullback) Eli (Wellman) was scoring touchdowns. (Redshirt junior tight end/fullback Trevon) Wesco was scoring touchdowns. So, we just had a good week of practice on the offensive side.
Junior Wide Receiver Gary Jennings
On the timing with redshirt junior quarterback Will Grier
Timing is going very well right now. We have that chemistry going and we just have everything working for us right now.
On the benefits of Friday’s scrimmage
It just gave us those looks in live situations and just being able to work those two-minute drills, those four-minute drills, and just help us with different situations.
On the progress of special teams/punt returns
We’ve been putting in new strategies in order to be able to get more yards and better yardage on punt returns. So, I think it’s working out very well. I see the success moving forward.
On how to improve the offense in the red zone
That goes in with the timing aspect as well, with (redshirt junior quarterback) Will (Grier) and working on our goal line fades and then different routes on the goal line as well.
Senior Linebacker Xavier Preston
On the challenges of playing on the strong side
On the strong side you have to take away their strength. You are lining up to the strength of their offense so you have to be prepared to take away anything that they throw at you. They are going to come at you that is their strength.
On who is coming after him on the opposing side
O-line. I usually see a lot of tackles, full backs, running backs, sometimes they are running right at me. I also cover receivers as well. You can see anything at any time.
On what he projects the team will be this season
I project us being a team. A whole unit, not just one game one side of the ball is doing well. I predict us to all come together during the season and be a team and have something this state can be proud of.
Redshirt Senior Linebacker Hodari Christian II
On how the competition between the offense and defense has been going
We’re both going after it, working and getting each other better. As you can see today, we were just going out there, playing and getting each other better.
On if the defense is starting to come together
Once you have an understanding of what you’re doing, you get better. The coaches tell us all the time to just play, just go out there and do what you need to do. You don’t need to think about your job too much, just go out there and play at 100 percent.
On if guys are starting to have to think less and play more
A lot less. They tell us all the time to not overthink it and just go play.