The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

April 22, 2013

Holgorsen downplays attendance

MORGANTOWN — It was with no small amount of confusion that I listened late Saturday afternoon in the aftermath of West Virginia’s Gold-Blue football game to Coach Dana Holgorsen’s opening comments to the media.

“I commend the fans — I don’t know what the attendance was, but the turnout was fantastic. The WVU Children’s Hospital is very grateful for any contribution that we give them. The fans were great. The players enjoyed getting in front of a crowd and playing football,” he said.

I was wondering if he had attended the same outing I had, for the WVU Children’s Hospital deserves far better than an event that draws no more than an estimated 8,000 fans in what is supposed to be a football mad area.

Before going any further, let us understand that we are placing absolutely no blame for this upon the WVU faithful, for you must give them something worth turning out for and the Mountaineers did not do this.

All spring long Holgorsen had downplayed the spring game, going so far as to say he didn’t even want to put one on because his team was not at a point to have such a scrimmage.

That was as much as having the Dos Equis “most interesting man in the world” saying, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Guinness.”

Holgorsen downplayed what was about to be presented to the point that about the best thing he would say about it was, “We want it to resemble football.”

And after it was over, his strongest compliment wasn’t far off of that.

“I think it resembled football, but I don’t think it resembled high-level football. At least it looked like football,” he said.

With these kind of vibes filtering out of the office of the head football coach, is it any wonder that while Auburn is drawing 83,000 to its spring game coming off a disastrous season and Tennessee drawing 61,000 off a year that cost its coach its job, too, WVU’s spring game was played in relative privacy?

What’s more, Holgorsen saw to it that even the most interesting aspects of his spring practice and his team — namely the new players or those from whom much is going to be expected — were not publicized, making them off limits to media.

Jordan Thompson, for example, who must fill a large gap at wide receiver, wasn’t even made available to give to the story of how he managed to come up with a three-TD spring game ... as if it were more important he learn how to get separation from the media that cover him rather than the cornerbacks who cover him.

It should not be forgotten that the first spring game played under Bill Stewart when he took over as head coach drew 18,000 fans — a figure that now has been cut more than in half, certainly a sign of interest in the program going in the wrong direction.

In fact, an argument could be made that the school has done far more to publicize and help report on its new uniforms and its bid to build a baseball stadium than has been done to publicize its cash cow and public face, the football program.

In truth, one year into the Big 12 and having heard many questions from this area about whether or not that was the right thing for the school to do, considering how dramatically the athletic department’s production dropped, there is an even bigger question to ask.

If there is any second guessing about the move around here going on, how much second guessing is going on in the Big 12, which passed off national basketball champion and football Sugar Bowl champion Louisville to take the Mountaineers?

It would seem that it might be best for WVU to turn all its assets immediately toward improving its product and the public perception of that product before it worries about its uniforms, radio broadcasts or whether it is going to share its baseball stadium with a low minor league franchise.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
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