Crystal Ball: Holgorsen Knew What He Had In Jennings And Sills
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Before this football season dawned after a Sunday sunset in Landover, Maryland, Dana Holgorsen was touting the talents of receivers Gary Jennings and David Sills V.
No one really listened.
At one point Holgorsen shouted from the rooftops that he felt Jennings was ready “to take games over”, and then he went out and in the opener against nationally ranked Virginia Tech caught 13 passes for for 189 yards — 80 of them coming on his lone TD reception.
Then there was the case of Sills, the quarterback turned receiver. While his tale is well known, what really isn’t as known is what Holgorsen said during his turn on the Big 12 coaches conference call on Monday.
“I recruited him for a long time,” Holgorsen said. “He had athletic ability, a great attitude, knowledge of the game. I thought early in his career he was a next level receiver. He’s been as good as I thought he would be.”
Think about that for a moment. Lane Kiffin saw Sills as a big time college quarterback as early as when he was 13 years old, offering him a USC scholarship, and Holgorsen, early in Sills’ career saw him, yes, as a college receiver but as a next level receiver … an NFL receiver.
But, as this season began, the annual Belitnikoff Award nominees came out and neither was on the list. They are now as 10 wide receivers from across America were added to the award given the college game’s best receiver and they were among them. And why not?
Sills has caught 7 touchdown passes in four games to tie for tops in the nation while his 396 receiving yards are 16th and 6.5 receptions per game are 23rd. Jennings standings 11th in both receiving yards with 438 and 18th in receptions with 7.3 per game.
QUOTABLE: This from linebacker Brendan Ferns, who for the second year in a row has suffered a season-ending injury that leads to surgery.
It also may get him a second redshirt season, which led him to wonder “Has anyone ever played college football with their doctorate degree?”
Impossible? Hardly. He’s a 4.0 student and Holgorsen believes you can get a sixth year if you have two season-ending injuries. He played in four games this year.
QUOTABLE II: After Saturday’s game in which Will Grier scrambled far too often, ending a few of them with enough bad slides to make a bottom 10 highlight reel, he said, “I suck at sliding.”
Holgorsen’s Tuesday response:
“I guess I have to get Mazey over here to teach him to slide.”
Mazey, of course, is WVU’s baseball coach Randy Mazey. Holgorsen does appreciate what leads Grier to scrambling and sliding.
“Will is as good as I’ve ever seen knowing there’s pressure and getting out of it. That’s a gift that he has,” Holgorsen said. “He does such a good job in the pocket. He feels it, has good ball security.”
Holgorsen felt the offensive line was solid against Kansas, as evidenced by a pair of 100-yard rushers, but that the defensive line “was not good” with the exception of Lamonte McDougle.
“He looked different than the others out there,” Holgorsen said. “He had four tackles. There have been plenty of games where the nose guard didn’t have four tackles. And we never had played three nose guards before in a game.”
Holgorsen promises a shake up of the defensive depth for the TCU game as injured players return healthy but don’t look for any changes in the scheme.
“We think we know how to coach this defense,” he said.