Holgs On Gatorade, Analytics, Injuries and the VT Rivalry
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – He likes Gatorade from a can, the talent on his team and West Virginia’s history with Virginia Tech.
Those were portions of the takes from head coach Dana Holgorsen in his Wednesday meeting of the media minds. The Mountaineers, now 10 practices into fall camp, have completed installation and are into the competition of full scale work and position battles. That’s the primary issue of concern for Holgorsen over the next week, who came to the podium with a fresh can of Gatorade in lauding its qualities.
“You guys ever had Gatorade from a can?” he said. “It’s better than a bottle. Like, way, way better.”
Holgorsen then hit upon the always-fashionable topic of injuries before the question could be asked. The gist: WVU is without safety Marvin Gross and corner Corey Winfield for the next two weeks, each recovering from successful surgery, Gross on his knee and Winfield on his finger. That’s not a major concern, as Gross has vast experience and Winfield was a two-year starter at Syracuse who should be able to slide in and compete for a starting position at corner. But here was precious little detail on wide receiver Jovon Durante, who has yet to report to the team while dealing with personal issues.
Besides the meat of the injuries and updates, Holgorsen said this team’s talent level was obvious, and similar to what WVU has had the last few seasons. But when asked exactly how good this team could be, Holgorsen said he wasn’t sure, that it took coaching, chemistry and a dose of luck to win at an elite level.
“Eh, I don’t know,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that go into it.”
One of the issues facing West Virginia over the next weeks will be how to avoid the sluggishness that sets in when camp hits its latter stages. There has been some of that to this point in individual drills, but full 11-on-11 has shown better efforts. It’s an issue annually, and something Holgorsen said his teams have “always bounced back from.”
While the opener with Virginia Tech looms in the minds of many fans, it’s not exactly a sticking point with players yet. West Virginia last faced the Hokies in 2005, when most of the roster was younger than 10 years old. The history, fresh in the minds of those 30 or older, lacks any richness or personal feel for the players, something the coaching staff is trying to instill over the coming weeks.
Offensive lineman Kyle Bosch has said WVU has more “bad blood” with Oklahoma than it does Virginia Tech, and that’s a psychological area that must be improved upon as the game nears. Holgorsen said the team would be well aware of the rivalry by game time, but that one must be careful not to overly hype a foe, creating too much build-up.
“But I like the big openers,” he said. “And we’ve played pretty well.”
Holgorsen also delves into the hiring of three analytics staff members to better break down foes and tendencies, his thoughts on the timing and development of the wide receivers and how much better he expects the Mountaineers to be in the red zone because of quarterback Will Grier and the better size and physicality of the wideouts.