The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

September 11, 2013

Holgorsen shakes up stagnant offense

MORGANTOWN — Dana Holgorsen admits it.

He’s embarrassed by what he’s seen of his offense to date, one touchdown against Oklahoma.

“I think we are closer on offense, but I accept full responsibility for seven points,” he said, referring to Saturday night’s 16-7 road defeat. “I don’t care who we are playing. It’s embarrassing. I’ve got the utmost respect for Bob and Mike Stoops, but that being said, seven points is embarrassing, and we need to fix it. We need to do a better job of putting guys into a position to make plays.”

Losing to Oklahoma in Norman is not anything to embarrass you about. The Sooners have lost only five games at home in Stoops’ 15 years as a coach.

But a year ago, in losing to the Sooners in Milan Puskar Stadium, Holgorsen found a way to penetrate the Oklahoma goal line seven times in dropping that 50-49 decision.

Of course, for that game he moved Tavon Austin to running back and caught the Sooners unaware while also having Stedman Bailey to catch passes from Geno Smith.

This time there was no Austin, no Smith, no Bailey.

That was an offense unlike any WVU had ever had, complete with a senior-dominated offensive line. During Holgorsen’s first two years the Mountaineers completely rewrote their offensive record book.

That is why what he would say next, after expressing his embarrassment and taking blame sank in, was far more stunning a statement.

“We have the potential to be better than we were last year,” he said. “Does that mean we are better than last year or are going to be better than last year? No. It just means we have the potential to be.”

Somehow, he saw a great deal of hope for the offense he has gathered, even though it has shown very little to date.

“There’s potential on offense, and that word disturbs me,” Holgorsen said. “I don’t like it very much, but there is potential on offense. A lot of people talk about how talented we are. Even guys on our team talk about how talented we are.”

Talk, though, is just that.

“We need to prove that. We need to make some plays,” Holgorsen stated. “You need to make plays when you are put into those situations, and if you don’t, we will try and put some other guys in those situations.”

This week no one’s job is really safe. Holgorsen plans to rep all three of his quarterbacks after having played Paul Millard for the entire Oklahoma game but not getting a great amount of production out of him.

Florida State transfer Clint Trickett and redshirt freshman Ford Childress will also get a good look.

“We will see how their attitudes are. Meeting is at 2:30, and we will see how they are in warm-ups. We can’t put two of them out there at once so someone’s name has to be called, they’ll have to go out, and we will see how they do. The difference with where we are at now is that Ford (Childress) will have reps, and he hasn’t had reps in the past three weeks,” Holgorsen noted.

And he’s also shaking up the receivers in an effort to get more oomph out of a position that a year ago sent two players to the draft, each with more than 100 catches.

Benefiting from the shakeup will be Ronnie Carswell, who caught a 69-yard touchdown against William & Mary, and Kevin White, who caught seven passes for 80 yards against Oklahoma.

“They have potential,” Holgorsen said. “After watching William & Mary, I was convinced that we had the slowest receiving corps in the country. When we put Ronnie (Ronald Carswell) in there it looked different. We didn’t have Kevin (White) services throughout camp. He was having a great spring, and having a great camp, and then he’s out for three weeks.

“He showed a little of what he can do last week. He looked like he was playing at a different level than some of the other guys out there. Mario (Alford), we just have to keep giving reps. We didn’t have him for three weeks of practice. When we put him in there, he runs at a different speed.

“With those three guys, I’m starting them, because I hope they can make plays. I’ve seen them make plays. If those other guys want to rep, they need to prove that they can make a play and provide a tremendous amount of effort.”

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

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • 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

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy

    The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.

    July 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads