Multiple Issues To Address For Holgorsen, WVU In Off Week

Multiple Issues To Address For Holgorsen, WVU In Off Week

After watching his team move the ball very well through much of the first part of the season, it was doubly shocking for West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen to see his offense throttled in the 30-14 loss to Iowa State on Saturday. He understands that criticism of a team that’s expected to put up big offensive numbers will come when it falls short of expectations.

“It’s really frustrating. Everybody will blame the head coach, the quarterback and the offensive coordinator.  It’s not fair to point the finger 100 percent at the quarterback.  You have to be realistic,” he said, while also trying to be diplomatic. “All of that criticism needs to come to me.”

Without question, WVU quarterback Will Grier’s decision making was off, but that wasn’t totally on him.

“We need to do a better job of blocking and running the ball and taking some pressure off the passing game,” Holgorsen explained. “[We have to] run routes and catch the ball and then let it rip.

While Holgorsen already had the upcoming offweek planned out in terms of recruiting and practice, there probably will be some changes in terms of what the coaching staff and team does this week to remedy the problems exposed in Ames. He noted immediately after Saturday’s game that there wouldn’t be any extra time off for the players.

“There are some things offensively we have to get worked out,” he understated. “It’s still the same offense and personnel that have been effective this year. I didn’t have them ready to go. We didn’t block or get off coverage, but I know this group has it in them. I’ve seen it. We can use the few extra days to do that.”

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The Big 12 has produced some lower than normal offensive output during the first half of the 2018 season. It will probably take the national media two or three years to figure it out, but those covering the league regularly have seen it. Five conference squads, including West Virginia, scored fewer than 20 points last week. Whether this is due to the low numbers of returning quarterbacks or an improvement in defensive quality is up for debate, but WVU’s result against the Cyclones would seem to point more toward the latter.

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen sees the ugly truth of the Iowa State game

“We are one of the teams that has a starting QB coming back that had been playing pretty good up until this week,” Holgorsen said of his team, which was one of the 50 percent under the 20-point mark. “I think the defenses have been playing well. Texas Tech is playing good, and [Kansas State] did good when they came here. Iowa State did as good against us as anyone ever has. I would say at this point the defenses have done a great job.”

Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma State and Baylor also fell short of the three-score point plateau.

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Holgorsen also commented on the safety issue of being caught in the field storming at Iowa State.

“It was very unprofessional,” he said in response to a question from an Iowa State beat writer. “Our job is to keep student-athletes in a safe place. When you have thousands of people coming at you, it’s not good. There are league rules against that for a reason. We didn’t have time to get (the Mountaineer players and staff) off the field. It was dicey there for a while. Luckily we got out of there without anyone getting hurt. ”

Due to the thousands of intervening fans, Holgorsen was unable to get to Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell for the standard postgame handshake.

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As to the action on the field, Holgorsen confirmed his assessment of ISU freshman quarterback Brock Purdy, and of backup quarterbacks the Mountaineers have seen this year.

“I thought Purdy did an outstanding job,” he stated. “The Texas Tech guy (Jett Duffey) did an outstanding job. Iowa State caught Oklahoma State offguard (with Purdy’s first significant appearance), but they didn’t catch us offguard. He threw an early pick, but it didn’t rattle him.  He did a great job for a freshman.”

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AROUND THE LEAGUE: Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy says that some of the social media items he has spawned and has been tied to, including his famous mullet, his dog in his office and the like, won’t change just because the Cowboys are going through a rough stretch.

“I’m having the best time of my life as a head football coach,” he stated. “I won’t change just to make someone else happy. Our team isn’t as good as it was this time last year, but we are getting great effort from our players. They are playing hard. I am enjoying the challenge, and I want to see us answer that and improve as the season progresses. We don’t have a lack of effort. We have to put our big boy pants on.”

Oklahoma State is 1-3 in the Big 12 after losing to Kansas State on Saturday, and it has an open date this weekend before hosting Texas on Oct. 27. Gundy said the offweek would be dedicated to a total re-evaluation of this year’s team and the approach from both coaches and players.

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Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder might have provided a blueprint for West Virginia’s approach after its disappointing loss to Iowa State. Snyder, whose K-State squad bounced back from a disappointing 0-3 Big 12 start with a home win over Oklahoma State on Saturday, noted that his staff didn’t make any huge changes, either schematically or tactically, to produce the win.

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Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger suffered a grade one shoulder sprain against Baylor. He will have an extra week in which to recover before the Longhorns face Oklahoma State on Oct. 27.

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QUOTABLE: “Everybody talks about us being beat down, but we’re 5-1 and in the Top 10 in the country. I don’t think we are that beat down. We have a really good football team.” – Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley

Home forums Multiple Issues To Address For Holgorsen, WVU In Off Week

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    Multiple Issues To Address For Holgorsen, WVU In Off Week After watching his team move the ball very well through much of the first part of the season
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    Play calling was absolutely atrocious. Calling same plays over and over again when they weren’t working. I guess should give the ISU staff credit for confusing Spavital and Grier. But the almost complete lack of short routes to vacant secondary areas when ISU consistently brought a safety on a blitz was confounding. Was I missing something? I kept expecting crossing routes into the space where the safety came from, but it just never happpened. Kept trying the home run ball. There had to be open spaces in the secondary. They were never exploited. I’m no football coach, so maybe it’s more complicated than I think. Can anyone enlighten me?


    I was waiting for the same thing. Something quick and over the middle. Utilize the TE. Slip the RB out. Something short and quick to keep the DB’s honest. The openings were there, but we just didn’t plan for it. Throw it deep. Throw it deep again. Run it up the middle again and again and again.

    If you do something that doesn’t work, try something new. Our coaches just didn’t make adjustments any time during the game.



    Think lack of scoring more an offense problem that better defenses, Ok State scored 42 on Iowa State the week before Iowa State shut down the WVU offense. Iowa State had plan to disrupt WVU and WVU never adjusted, as evidenced by all the sacks.

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Home forums Multiple Issues To Address For Holgorsen, WVU In Off Week