Holgorsen On Grier’s Leadership, WVU’s Defense & Kansas Challenges
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Kansas is better. The question is how much so, and is that enough to test West Virginia.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen seemed to indicate the affirmative in his press conference Tuesday, praising KU head coach David Beaty, who enters the forth game of his third season at the helm with just three wins against 24 losses. But Beaty has developed better depth, dipping into the junior college ranks and signing transfer quarterback Reyton Bender.
The gunslinger from Washington State – where head coach Mike Leach teaches the same spread Air Raid style of offense that Kansas runs under coordinator Doug Meacham – has racked up 1,030 yards passing this season, with six touchdowns against five interceptions. Bender is a pure pocket passer, and he’d like little more than to sit back unpressured and pick apart WVU’s thus-far middling secondary.
The Jayhawks, 1-2 after consecutive losses to Group of Five teams Central Michigan and Ohio, are scoring more than 31 points per game and tally 343 passing yards per contest. They’ve protected adequately, and the offense has found stability at signal caller and a threat in the passing game in receiver Steven Sims (10 catches, two TDs, 202 yards). KU struggles on defense, but is stocked with solid players along the front and a linebacker in Joe Dineen who leads the Big 12 in tackles with 38. Seven of those have come for loss, ranking him fourth in the nation in the category.
Holgotsen also delved into the issue of a potentially stagnant environment, the leadership of WVU quarterback Will Grier, the running game of the Mountaineers and, as always, gave a rather vague update on the injury front, noting that WVU offensive linemen Grant Lingafelter (leg injury) and Jacob Buccigrossi (torn ACL) will travel with the team to Kansas. Both are close to being physically able to play. Lingafelter was injured in the second quarter against Virginiaa Tech, while Buccigrossi suffered the ACL tear in spring. Linebacker David Long (meniscus tear) and safety Toyous Avery (undisclosed) will also travel and could see action this week.
Running back/slot receiver Kennedy McKoy is scheduled to return after being suspended for last week’s game due to violation of team rules. Check the complete video of Holgorsen’s press conference below.