Where Does West Virginia Football Go From Here?

Where Does West Virginia Football Go From Here?


MORGANTOWN, W.Va – Where does West Virginia football go from here and should Dana Holgorsen be included in its future?

That is the central issue that must be confronted right now.

When Shane Lyons, the athletic director, sits down and analyzes the situation, there is one focal point and that is Holgorsen.

Has he taken the West Virginia football program as high as he can take it?

He was hired by Oliver Luck, not Lyons, so there isn’t any real tie there that would bind the two men together. He was hired to handle the transition of a Big East program into the Big 12, with which he was familiar.

He did that.

He changed the football philosophy. He made the Mountaineers fit in with the teams in the Big 12, made them a factor in the race.

But as he ends his eighth season as WVU head coach there are quite a few voids, many of them which many believed would be filled this year with Will Grier back as quarterback for a second year and a deep receiving corps.

Yet, in the end, there are three losses on the resume, the annual loss to Oklahoma, another embarrassing loss to an average Oklahoma State team with a big lead blown in the process and a loss at Iowa State.

And, even as ESPN was trumpeting him as an offensive innovator — which he most certainly has proven to be in every sense of the word — and others are talking about how he may be in demand for other coaching jobs around the country, one wonders if there is more there than he has shown at WVU.

You have to remember, no matter how much they tried to sell you otherwise, that he did not take over a program in trouble. It had won nine games three straight years under Bill Stewart and before that was a contender for the national championship under Rich Rodriguez.

He had to alter things, but his best team may well have been the one he inherited with Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Keith Tandy, Bruce Irvin, Jared Barber, Najee Goode, Donnie Barclay, Jeff Braun, Quinton Spain and Darwin Cook.

It was a good enough team that first year to beat Clemson in the Orange Bowl, 70-33, and the next year even more was expected of it, especially after it started the season 5-0 while averaging 51 points a game and with two of the victories over Top 25 teams.

That season, however, came unraveled with five straight losses in which the Mountaineers gave up 49 or more in four of them.

That season set the stage, really, for what has been repeated this year, including a game where WVU won the now famous 70-63 victory over Baylor, scored 69 points on Marshall and 59 on Kansas.

To Holgorsen’s eternal credit he matured as a coach as the years went by, morphing from an Air Raid philosophy to an offense that included a run game and tight ends and H-backs. He even gave up his play calling duties to concentrate more on being a CEO.

But mostly under Holgorsen it has been more show biz than football biz, beating up the teams they should beat up and losing to teams that would take a little something extra to beat.

And as for Oklahoma, it’s as if they are in some other league … like the NFL.

If you are going to win the Big 12, you are going to have to beat Oklahoma and the Mountaineers just haven’t been able to do that. In fact, they have given up 56, 59 and 59 points in the last three outings and have given up an average of 54 points a game to OU in the seven conference meetings.

Holgorsen understands his situation and his team’s.

“We didn’t make our goal,” Holgorsen said after the Oklahoma loss. “Not going to the Big 12 championship is a damn shame. I think everybody would understand we were close. We beat one of them, and we almost beat the other.”

Almost doesn’t get it in football. Going for it on fourth-and-one and gaining two feet and 11 inches almost gets you a first down but the next play is run by the other team.

A lot of decisions must be made. With a defense that this year gave up 41 to Texas, 45 to Oklahoma State and 59 to Oklahoma, Holgorsen has to decide if he wants Tony Gibson back to run his 3-3-5 stack defense.

And life begins anew on offense next season without Grier, Sills and Gary Jennings.

Knowing that, does Holgorsen want to make a fresh start elsewhere or does Lyons want to start over with someone of his own choice.? The intrigue is just beginning to heat up.

Home forums Where Does West Virginia Football Go From Here?

This topic contains 34 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by BGDeuce BGDeuce .

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  • #75535

    BGN Chad
    Muskets: 1,390

    Where Does West Virginia Football Go From Here? MORGANTOWN, W.Va – Where does West Virginia football go from here and should Dana Holgorsen be include
    [See the full post at: Where Does West Virginia Football Go From Here?]

    #75539

    JAL
    Muskets: 6,293
    Rank: Junior

    Maybe this applies to many schools but WVU football Has a string of mysteries. Pitt 13-WVU 9 will always remain one. So will the 2012 team, after the 6-0 start they got blown out by Texas Tech and K State then embarrassed in the Pinstripe Bowl. I am not sure where the problems are. For example, are the players not good enough or is the way they they taught to play that is the problem. The 3-3-5 stack is not stopping the good offenses. One thing I do know is that, in his time at WVU, Holgorsen has not recruited and developed a good QB-no Smith, White, Marshall, or Harris. I also think about the Clemson game and two teams have done since it. Clemson has been in playoffs and WVU has not even been back to major bowl.

    #75561

    PostpadEer
    Muskets: 205
    Rank: Redshirt

    Hertzel’s eternal ode to days gone by… it’s a nice piece of writing save the lament of somehow believing when Dana took over it wasn’t a program in decline. The cupboard was bare kids. Dana has done well at providing talent and establishing depth. Something previous staff haven’t taken full measure of or made excuses about the difficulty of recruiting to WVU.

    #75569

    wvucinci
    Muskets: 9,145
    Rank: All-Conference

    I agree with you Postpad. There may have been some upper division talent still around when Dana took over but the younger talent was very thin. But, the bottom line for this year is we either exceeded our talent level and should have lost another game or two or, we under achieved. Neither scenario is a good thing. I personally think it was the latter. I think we managed to lose two games at the end where we, literally, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

    #75595

    Ccteam
    Muskets: 85,854
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    The idea that Holgorsen has recruited depth is a myth. Lacked scholarship numbers again this year. I think it is absolutely a reasonable question to ask if he has it in him to take WV to a championship and to compete for one every year. Or is that even the goal under this AD? They will, in all likelihood take a step or two back next year. I supported Nehlen. Liked Rod until he got too big for his britches. Thought Stew was in over his head, but liked him and thought he was treated poorly. But I am not a Holgorsen supporter. His teams fail in predictable patterns. He sticks by crazy philosophies like not calling timeouts in 2 minute drill to the detriment of his team, and still lets emotion take over in critical decision making in big games. His track record is creating sometimes spectacular stretches of football followed by inexplicably poor stretches. Wild inconsistency and the tendency to take way too many high risk chances instead of taking what the other team is giving. I would not be sad if he takes off for new surroundings. Think WV is at the peak of what it can be with him.

    #75598

    Cuyahoga Falls Eers
    Muskets: 38,240
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    Look, college football is unpredictable everywhere.

    WVU has had a mountain of key, critical injuries this season. And Simms was targeted out of the Oklahoma game with no penalty called and the targeter stayed to do damage to our offense.

    Will Grier came to WVU in part because Dana is our head coach. Grier was a major asset. In future seasons the same people who are complaining about Dana today will be wistfully wishing that the Mountaineers of the future were as good as this 2017 team, which went toe to toe in 2 classic games against Oklahoma and Texas, which will be playing for the Big 12 championship.

    It would be like a team that gave Ohio State and Michigan all it could handle not playing in the Big 10 title game.

    I applaud the 2018 WVU football team. I thank them for giving their all throughout the season. And I know what 1988, 1993 and 2018 will be very, very difficult to repeat. Those who didn’t cherish this season, game by game, missed out on a lot of warm feelings.

    M agnificent Grier passes shredded Tennessee, 40-14
    O verhelmed drenched Youngstown, 52-17
    U nable to play North Carolina State because of Hurricane Florence
    N asty defense against Kansas State, 35-6
    T errific, then timid on offense against Texas Tech, 42-34
    A ntsy time for fans, vs. Kansas!, 38-22
    I ncomprehensible insanely indescribably inept offense against Iowa State, 14-30
    N ailed Baylor, 58-14
    E rectile dysfunctioned Texas on 2-point PAT, 42-41
    E viscerated TCU, 47-10
    R etching collapse at Oklahoma State, 41-45
    S pectacular shootout but Oklahoma wins, 56-59

    #75600

    Martin Dodrill
    Muskets: 10,800
    Rank: All-Conference

    I would compare Hols situation with Bobby Bowden when we ran him out of town

    #75624

    Ccteam
    Muskets: 85,854
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    Surely you aren’t serious Martin. You believe Holgorsen is comparable to Bobby Bowden. I don’t see it.

    #75765

    Martin Dodrill
    Muskets: 10,800
    Rank: All-Conference

    Now way….. just the situation ….many fans and alumni wanted Bowden fired….same situation w Holgs
    I liked Bowden back in the day (he broke bread w us at Pike house as our OC) …. WVU fans sometimes have unrealistic expectations

    #75767
    BGDeuce
    BGDeuce
    Muskets: 11,500
    Rank: All-Conference

    <0

    #75778
    Butlereer
    Butlereer
    Muskets: 101,825
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    Now way….. just the situation ….many fans and alumni wanted Bowden fired….same situation w Holgs
    I liked Bowden back in the day (he broke bread w us at Pike house as our OC) …. WVU fans sometimes have unrealistic expectations

    Martin. When was that at the Pike House?
    Haven’t we met somewhere before?

    #75780

    irishladdy
    Muskets: 10,910
    Rank: All-Conference

    The idea that Holgorsen has recruited depth is a myth. Lacked scholarship numbers again this year. I think it is absolutely a reasonable question to ask if he has it in him to take WV to a championship and to compete for one every year. Or is that even the goal under this AD? They will, in all likelihood take a step or two back next year. I supported Nehlen. Liked Rod until he got too big for his britches. Thought Stew was in over his head, but liked him and thought he was treated poorly. But I am not a Holgorsen supporter. His teams fail in predictable patterns. He sticks by crazy philosophies like not calling timeouts in 2 minute drill to the detriment of his team, and still lets emotion take over in critical decision making in big games. His track record is creating sometimes spectacular stretches of football followed by inexplicably poor stretches. Wild inconsistency and the tendency to take way too many high risk chances instead of taking what the other team is giving. I would not be sad if he takes off for new surroundings. Think WV is at the peak of what it can be with him.

    I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with a message board post more than this one. It’s like I wrote it it’s so close to my opinions.

    #75797

    Martin Dodrill
    Muskets: 10,800
    Rank: All-Conference

    Now way….. just the situation ….many fans and alumni wanted Bowden fired….same situation w Holgs I liked Bowden back in the day (he broke bread w us at Pike house as our OC) …. WVU fans sometimes have unrealistic expectations

    Martin. When was that at the Pike House? Haven’t we met somewhere before?

    that would be 1968, 1969 ….Bowden took over for Carlin in 1970

    #75802
    Butlereer
    Butlereer
    Muskets: 101,825
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    Small world. I lived there fall semester 71 for 2 years. 47 years later your name rang a familiar bell.

    #75803

    irishladdy
    Muskets: 10,910
    Rank: All-Conference

    I applaud the 2018 WVU football team. I thank them for giving their all throughout the season. And I know what 1988, 1993 and 2018 will be very, very difficult to repeat.

    2018 will be very, very difficult to repeat? Do what? Outside of Texas, who did we beat with a pulse? We also lost to two teams we really should have beaten.

    I’m confused.

    #75805
    Butlereer
    Butlereer
    Muskets: 101,825
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    Well, at the beginning of the year most thought that this was an 8 or 9 W team at best. 3 or 4 L’s regular season. Guess What…..

    #75807

    Cuyahoga Falls Eers
    Muskets: 38,240
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    I applaud the 2018 WVU football team. I thank them for giving their all throughout the season. And I know what 1988, 1993 and 2018 will be very, very difficult to repeat.

    2018 will be very, very difficult to repeat? Do what? Outside of Texas, who did we beat with a pulse? We also lost to two teams we really should have beaten.

    I’m confused.

    AH, THE INEVITABLE PISS IN YOUR CHERIOS RESPONSE. I GUESS IT’S BETTER THAN TAKING OUT YOUR PERSONAL MISERY BY BEATING THE DOG OR YELLING AT THE KIDS. YOU DO KNOW THAT OPTIMISTS LIVE LONGER THAN PESSIMISTS AND GROUCHES? THAT’S PROBABLY WHY I’M 86 AND SHOWING UP IN SECTION 105 OF MOUNTAINEER FIELD FOR EVERY GAME AND GETTING MISTY EYED EVERY TIME I SING “COUNTRY ROADS” AFTER A WVU VICTORY.

    #75808

    irishladdy
    Muskets: 10,910
    Rank: All-Conference

    I applaud the 2018 WVU football team. I thank them for giving their all throughout the season. And I know what 1988, 1993 and 2018 will be very, very difficult to repeat.

    2018 will be very, very difficult to repeat? Do what? Outside of Texas, who did we beat with a pulse? We also lost to two teams we really should have beaten.

    I’m confused.

    AH, THE INEVITABLE PISS IN YOUR CHERIOS RESPONSE. I GUESS IT’S BETTER THAN TAKING OUT YOUR PERSONAL MISERY BY BEATING THE DOG OR YELLING AT THE KIDS. YOU DO KNOW THAT OPTIMISTS LIVE LONGER THAN PESSIMISTS AND GROUCHES? THAT’S PROBABLY WHY I’M 86 AND SHOWING UP IN SECTION 105 OF MOUNTAINEER FIELD FOR EVERY GAME AND GETTING MISTY EYED EVERY TIME I SING “COUNTRY ROADS” AFTER A WVU VICTORY.

    I’m far from a pessimist or a grouch when it comes to WVU sports. I’m definitely not a blind homer though that goes around trying to compare a run of the mill 8-3 season to two of the greatest seasons in our programs history.

    There’s no reason that the things in your post proving your “fandom” and calling a season realistically what it was have to be mutually exclusive.

    #75831

    WVUAlumni2003
    Muskets: 7,030
    Rank: Senior

    Had a lot of my college football friends following WVU all season and I have pointed out the amount of injuries our linebackers took this year. That being said, I can’t tell you how many people approached me after OK State and OK to say, “When will WVU stop using only a 3 man rush? They can’t disrupt any powerful offense with it.”

    Interesting, I know this has been brought up a lot, but the Oklahoma offenses have been tearing WVU apart with the 3-3-5. Perhaps it’s time to really strong consider a change to the approach. Otherwise we may always be in the middle of the pack looking up at the Big 12 title game.

    #75833
    Allen
    Allen
    Muskets: 5,545
    Rank: Junior

    Well, at the beginning of the year most thought that this was an 8 or 9 W team at best. 3 or 4 L’s regular season. Guess What…..

    Also many including Vegas thought this team would only win 7. Many others had this team going anywhere from 4-8 to 8-4. Big 12 had WVU picked 2nd. But being picked 2nd didn’t mean they would win more than 8.

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