The Times West Virginian

Sports

September 1, 2013

Holgorsen’s ‘Air Raid’ offense stays grounded

MORGANTOWN — Dana Holgorsen has made his reputation throwing the football, but this year’s West Virginia University team definitely is taking on a running personality and he has no problem with that.

“Whatever we’re good at is what we’re going to do,” the coach said after rushing 44 times for 204 yards in a surprisingly difficult 24-17 victory over William & Mary. “It doesn’t matter if we win by one or win by 40 or if we throw 50 passes and win or run 50 times and win.”

The fact of the matter is that WVU is a different team than it was a year ago with Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.

“We have to figure out what we do well,” Holgorsen said.

And, with his depth at running back, that’s where he will turn.

Newcomer Charles Sims from Houston made a big difference, rushing for 120 yards on 23 carries while scoring the first touchdown of the season on a nifty little 5-yard run that included a tricky stutter step and a cut into the open.

Holgorsen was disappointed only in the fact that didn’t break anything longer than 19 yards on the ground.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t get loose,” he said. “We ran the ball probably more than at any time during the history of my coaching career, but I felt like it was the right thing to do. They were dropping a lot of people, and you couldn’t really get a read on if they were going to drop them or blitz them.”

In truth, the running game helped the passing game which saw new starter Paul Millard complete 19 of 25 for 237 yards and a touchdown of 69 yards to wide receiver Ronnie Carswell.

“We started running the ball effectively and they started creeping up,” Millard explained. “We were getting 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-yard gains, and when those safeties start creeping up, that’s when you can go over the top. You have to know when you can do that and Ronnie made a great play.”

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