Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

October 25, 2012

Was West Virginia overrated?

MORGANTOWN — A media type asked Dana Holgorsen this week whether he thought his West Virginia football team was overrated coming into this season?

“I don’t know,” the second-year head coach replied. “Everyone has an opinion on preseason rankings. They are based on the end of the previous season and how many guys were coming back.

“It doesn’t matter what happened last year. I stood up here before the Marshall game and said that this is a different team. I said it was going to take multiple games to see what we were made of.”

Holgerson explained that the WVU coaches tell their players not to worry about what the papers say, what the rankings are, what the TV says or what the internet says.

“This week we are saying because all of the people that said (the players) were great now say they’re bad,” Holgerson declared. “Why pay attention? Pay attention to what we say in here.”

He urged the Mountaineers, now 5-2, 2-2 in the Big 12 and ranked No. 25, to worry about their academics and their health. They have more free time because there is no game this week.

They also were told to do a good job in the weight room and get bigger and stronger. They have just three days of actual practice this week.

The most shocking thing to many fans was the sudden discovery of holes in the previously high-powered offense.

West Virginia averaged 52 points per game in winning its first five contests. But the team managed to score just 14 points in each of the two back-to-back defeats.

Those were to Texas Tech 59-14 and Kansas State 45-14.

Holgerson said, “We haven’t played with great tempo. When we play upbeat we have great tempo.

“There are things that you need to have settled. A good balance of that is when we are at our best. We were probably a little too settled last week, which is 100 percent my fault.

“We should have pushed the envelope in some things.”

Kansas State slowed down its tempo successfully. But the Wildcats scored on their first seven possessions and nine of 10.

Each team got only 62 offensive plays, or 30 less than WVU had in a game earlier this season.

The Mountaineers had 243 yards of total offense, the lowest of the season by far.


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