Holgorsen: Reserves Must Be Better For Mountaineers

WVU Back-ups Subpar In Heart of Dallas Defeat


DALLAS – There was little said when West Virginia was done. Any explanation was apparent on the field, where the Mountaineers pieced together their worst offensive performance in years in the 30-14 Heart of Dallas Bowl defeat to Utah.

Among the few positives from a game where there was a special teams fumble, two interceptions, numerous missed throws and another pair of fumbles to go with a season-low 153 yards? Head coach Dana Holgorsen thought WVU’s defense “played well enough to win.”

The Mountaineers forced Utah into four consecutive punts after allowing an opening-drive touchdown, but were continually hurt by the turnovers and the offensive ineptitude that put the defense on the field for 80 plays. The Utes racked up 362 yards, including 197 on the ground, but were held off the scoreboard enough that an offense with a pulse would have kept the team in the game. Instead, WVU trailed 17-3 at the half and showed they lacked the comeback ability after getting down 24-6 in the fourth quarter.

“Defensively after the first drive I thought we played well,” Holgorsen said. “The first drive was atrocious. They didn’t touch anybody. I thought we played well after that. A couple bad situations and usually that’s our M.O., to hold guys to field goals in that situation. We didn’t do as good a job as we needed to at that. But we played well enough to win defensively.”

No where else, however. The offense managed nine completions and just 29 rushing yards – the third-fewest in the last 21 years. WVU punted nine times and scored on just three drives while committing three turnovers in the two interceptions and a fumble. That’s not counting the Marcus Simms punt muff that handed Utah a touchdown for a 14-3 lead after the Utes drive just 13 yards.

West Virginia was missing two starting offensive linemen in guard Kyle Bosch and tackle Yodny Cajuste to go with Justin Crawford’s decision not to play and the injury to Will Grier that sidelined him for the final two-plus games of the season. But that still doesn’t hold enough sway that the offense should have looked this decrepit, this unable to move the ball in the slightest.

“You’ve never heard me use that as an excuse,” Holgorsen said. “You need guys to step in and play at a high level. That’s the bottom line. We struggled up front. Down two starters guys need to step in and play better and they didn’t. You lose a quarterback like Will Grier and you need the back-up to go in and play great and he didn’t. If your back-ups don’t go in an play at a high level you get beat against good teams.”

And .500 teams as well, Utah entering with a 6-6 record and leaving with an 11th bowl win in 12 tries. West Virginia, meanwhile, had just five second-half yards deep into the fourth quarter in losing for a fourth time in the last five bowls under Holgorsen. WVU has averaged seven wins per season since joining the Big 12 in 2012.

“A few guys stepped up and said to remember how this feels now because in 2018 we want this to be a more successful season,” said Holgorsen, whose team will return Grier, David Sills, Cajuste and a large portion of the defense. “We understand we have a lot of work to do. Publicly want to thank those 18 seniors who made the trip. They have done a lot for our program. It upsets me not to be able to send them out with a victory.”

 

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  • #43082

    WVU Back-ups Subpar In Heart of Dallas Defeat DALLAS – There was little said when West Virginia was done. Any explanation was apparent on the field, w
    [See the full post at: Holgorsen: Reserves Must Be Better For Mountaineers]

    #43098

    Glad it’s over. It was cold wet and ugly.

    #43160

    Among future starters in the post Grier era will not include Chugs (Allison, Lowe and maybe someone else but surely no Chugs)

    #43170

    Poor play, actually by both teams. Chugs was the worst qb in the game, but not by that wide a margin. Utah’s qb missed 5 or 6 wide open receivers that could have made that one a 60-14 score. When he wasn’t missing receivers they were dropping balls that could have been big plays. Because of that, I can’t really say the WV defense played all that well. Utah’s receivers were open on nearly every play, but they just didn’t connect. WV’s offense could generate nothing. Maybe some credit goes to Utah, but WV without its qb, its first team tailback, and its best two offensive linemen was just not much of a test. All in all, this game was a great argument for the case of way too many bowl games. These two teams played a game that was ugly and hard to watch. And while I’m complaining how could the ref standing five yards away from a punt returner calling fair catch miss that cal!?

    #43173

    As for reserves, so much for Holgorsen building up numbers of players who can compete at the big boy level. The back ups were overmatched and overwhelmed. WV needs more depth to compete amongst the power conferences.

    #43229

    As for reserves, so much for Holgorsen building up numbers of players who can compete at the big boy level. The back ups were overmatched and overwhelmed. WV needs more depth to compete amongst the power conferences.

    But all we keep hearing is we finally have depth, if that is their idea of depth, maybe we need to look at the coaches.

    #43259

    O-line has no depth whatsoever.

    Wickline at tackle is undersized and has is easily overpowered.

    Hardy came in and while looking the part was obviously lost. Recall one play where he let his guy go assuming the tackle would pick him up but the tackle was covered up by a DE. Hardy turns to the tackle as if to say, “thought you had him”… as if he could block two guys at the same time.

    We have a long way to go in the trenches.

    #43267

    Our numbers on both sides of the line have been low since the DN years. RR would build up speed and skill players in lieu of OL & DL. Taking a look at the perennial top 15 teams you will see that they have many more OL & DL schollie players on their teams. Going back to DN teams, he used to have mostly 5th yr SR’s as the first team OL. We are thin at numbers which makes us also thin at experience.

    #43279

    I have to wonder as well the effect of losing Ron Crook as OL coach had on the run blocking.

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