Dana Holgorsen has his quarterback in Ford Childress.
He was fine against Georgia State.
Will he be good enough for the big time?
Holgorsen will know more about that after he watches him prepare and play against Maryland in a dress rehearsal for a meeting with the best the Big 12 has to give in Oklahoma State.
“He has to pick up his sense of urgency and play faster, but that’s something we will obviously work on and he will get better with reps,” Holgorsen said on the Big 12 coaches conference call Monday.
Urgency and play faster ... a formula for success in Holgorsen’s offense.
What he did against Georgia State in setting WVU passing records by completing 25 of 41 for 359 yards and three touchdowns showed Holgorsen much of what he was looking for in Childress’ collegiate debut following a redshirt year plus two games.
“I was interested in what his poise was, what his demeanor was on the sideline, what his communication was in game and with the guys on the line of scrimmage getting into the right play,” the coach explained.
This was about attitude, about acting as if he belonged, as if he knew the right way to play the game and was the best person to pull it off.
“He didn’t get rattled. We didn’t do a great job on some of our protection stuff and he ended up getting hit and I was actually encouraged by the way he handled getting hit,” Holgorsen revealed. “He stood in there; it didn’t rattle him. His demeanor was good, got right back up and went to work.”
That, however, was just scratching the surface, the beginning.
“Consistency and improvement, he’s got a long way to go. He hasn’t played a lot of football. He played only two years in high school and this was his first college game,” Holgorsen explained. “He’s relatively raw at the quarterback position and has a lot of things to work on. The stage is obviously going to be bigger this week and in the Big 12.”
And on that stage what does Holgorsen expect?
“I expect his demeanor to be consistent. I expect his productivity to improve,” he said. “The communication was fine but the bigger the stage, the harder that is going to be.”
Demeanor and communication are one thing. Holgorsen is also looking for technical improvement.
“He’s just got to improve. His footwork has to improve. His accuracy has to improve. He threw three or four away that I thought were pretty easy to complete. He didn’t get that done,” Holgorsen said.
“His timing with the receivers, his relationship with those guys is going to take time.
“They need to play a bunch. They need to practice a bunch. They need to take advantage of every opportunity that exists throughout the week, and then in each and every game there has to be improvement in that as well.”
That is something that can’t be taught. It has no shortcuts, no tricks.
You want your communication with wide receivers Daikiel Shorts or Ivan McCartney to become so second nature that you know how they are going to react to a certain coverage simply by seeing them move.
You see it often enough in practice, see it enough before practice, see it in the spring and in the summer.
Then when a Maryland defender takes away what is supposed to be an inside cut, you know how the receiver will react almost before he does.
That makes for great plays and great players, but it doesn’t always happen in a quarterback’s second or third game, more likely in the second or third year.
Email Bob Hertzel at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.
Dana Holgorsen has his quarterback in Ford Childress.
- Bob Herzel
Mountaineers stun No. 8 Kansas, 92-86
The missing link finally showed itself for West Virginia University on Saturday, maybe just in time to save the season for the Mountaineers.
“Better late than never,” is the way WVU guard Eron Harris put it after freshman center Devin Williams stepped out of the shadows and put together the game everyone has been waiting for in leading the Mountaineers to a crucial 92-86 victory over Kansas.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Eron Harris bounces back to spark WVU
One minute and forty-seven seconds had ticked off the Coliseum clock on Saturday afternoon and things were off to the kind of start most people had expected, Kansas in the lead, albeit as slender as a one-point lead can be.
That was when Juwan Staten spotted Eron Harris open beyond the 3-point arc.
Staten plans to test NBA after season
To the surprise of no one, West Virginia University guard Juwan Staten is going to explore his opportunities in the NBA at the end of this season, a season in which he has become perhaps the best player in the Big 12.
WVU women outlast TCU to advance in Big 12 tournament
In the afternoon, West Virginia’s men’s team gave up a career-high 41 points to Andrew Wiggins but found a way to tough out a victory over Kansas.
Then Saturday evening, the West Virginia women’s team gave up a career-high 32 points to Zahna Medley but found a way to tough out a victory over TCU in the second round of the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championships in Oklahoma City.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Buie returns to WVU after a year away
It’s nearly every little boy’s dream to become a college football athlete, to play in a stadium before 60,000, 70,000, 100,000 fans, to wear the colors of a university proudly. There are cheerleaders and groupies; there’s your name in headlines, your picture in the newspapers.
WVU looks to back up Huggins’ prediction
It was after Kansas defeated West Virginia University, 83-69, a month ago in Lawrence, Bob Huggins reached into his deep library of inspirational sayings and came out with one from Abe Lemons, of all people, the one-time Texas coach who never was at a loss for words.
TCU tough matchup for WVU women
West Virginia University women’s basketball coach Mike Carey is trying to find a happy balance now for his team as it enters its second season, the Big 12 Tournament.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Huggins just wants WVU to compete
In the end, with Bob Huggins, they count victories and losses, and he has always been one to pile up the victories while keeping the losses to a minimum, at least until the last two seasons at West Virginia University.
And, in the end, when he tries to analyze why the losses have come rather than the victories, he comes to understand that he just doesn’t have the manpower to compete.
Carey, Bussie headline Big 12 awards
To the victors go the spoils, and West Virginia University’s newly crowned Big 12 women’s basketball regular-season co-champions certainly took down their share of the conference’s post-season awards, headed by coach Mike Carey and senior center Asya Bussie.
Oklahoma pulls away from WVU, 72-62
Reality hit West Virginia University in the gut Wednesday as No. 23 Oklahoma showed the Mountaineers almost every reason why they are not an NCAA Tournament team this year, pulling away in the second half to a 72-62 victory in Norman.
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- Mountaineers stun No. 8 Kansas, 92-86