The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

September 24, 2013

Holgorsen takes the blame

MORGANTOWN — He didn’t throw an interception, drop a pass or miss a block, yet in the end, Dana Holgorsen says if you’re looking for someone to blame for the disaster that occurred over the weekend against Maryland in Baltimore, come looking for him.

“I’m not pointing the finger at anyone but myself,” the West Virginia coach said during Monday’s Big 12 coaches’ conference call in the wake of an embarrassing 37-0 defeat.

He understands that no one he put out there on the offensive side of the ball did anything to take him off the hook.

His redshirt freshman quarterback, Ford Childress, played like a redshirt freshman quarterback.

He completed but 11 of 22 passes, gaining just 62 yards. He played as if he were mad at his wide receivers, Ronald Carswell being the only one to make a catch, that for just 12 yards on a third-down play when 13 were needed.

He threw two more passes toward Carswell, one toward Kevin White and one toward Mario Alford.

Two of his passes were intercepted and he lost a fumble, but Holgorsen preferred not to hang his young quarterback out to dry.

“I see bigger issues,” he said. “There’s obviously some things that Ford can do to improve on his performance. The bigger issue is me. I have to do a better job of getting these guys prepared to play, of calling plays, of all three sides of the ball getting motivated. I didn’t do a very good job of that last week.”

It was the same with his wide receivers.

One catch?

Surely Holgorsen could not accept that.

“It would be nice to get wide receivers the ball. That’s why they call them receivers, so they can catch a ball every now and then. We’re pretty inept at that,” he admitted.

But again, he was giving them a pass, at least in public, to let the blame fall on himself.

“That’s nothing on them. They’re working hard,” he said. “We got guys in position, guys that want to play. We’re just not clicking and that falls 100 percent on me.”

In truth, when you are the highest paid employee in the state, when you have taken over a football program that was riding so high three consecutive 9-4 seasons weren’t good enough to keep your job, a lot is expected of you, and 0-37 losses to Maryland are not among those expectations.

“There’s plenty of blame to go around,” Holgorsen said. “The one that can be blamed more than anyone is me. That’s for danged sure. That’s not an acceptable performance.

“You have to give Maryland some credit. I thing they are a really good team on defense. They gave us fits last year,” he continued. “With that said, I got to do a better job of coaching them. We have to get guys in position to execute what we’re asking them to do. That’s not happening very much.”

Just what is it Holgorsen believes he must do to change things? He is not about to make a quarterback change, saying Childress is his guy, and he is in a rebuilding phase at wide receiver, offensive line and running back, depending a great deal on junior college transfers, which normally brings either great rewards or heartaches ... and far too often the latter.

“We’re going to coach them harder this week. We’re going to get them prepared to play,” Holgorsen said. “I just got to do a better job. If I do a better job, the rest of the guys will do a better job as well.”

And just what is the goal with this team?

“I got to get these guys to where they are playing a little looser. I think they are playing a little uptight. You can’t go out there and be scared to make a mistake. If it exists with me and that’s what the majority of the team feels, then the finger comes pointing right back at me,” Holgorsen said.

How you get a team to loosen up after a debacle like that with the nation’s No. 11 team in Oklahoma State ahead is a difficult question to answer, but it’s why Holgorsen gets the big bucks.

NOTES: WVU is a 21-point underdog at home to Oklahoma State. They have not been that big a home dog in two decades, since Miami in 1994 ... Maryland had eight tackles for loss against WVU on Saturday ... West Virginia’s trip to Baylor on Oct. 5 will be shown on FoxSports TV at 7 p.m. ... This week’s game against Oklahoma State is at noon.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads