The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

October 17, 2012

Holgorsen: ‘We need to change the mindset’

MORGANTOWN — Figuring out a way to beat No. 4 Kansas State when it comes into Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium at 7 p.m. on Saturday would be a large enough challenge for West Virginia University coach Dana Holgorsen had his team won at Texas Tech last week.

But coming off a devastating 49-14 loss to the Red Raiders, knocking the Mountaineers from the ranks of the undefeated and out of the nation’s Top 10, presented him with another, maybe even more pressing problem.

“We need to change the mindset of our football team right now,” the second-year coach said in his weekly media gathering. “I think we are a good football team. We haven’t had to deal with this in a long time. It’s been a year, and we’ve won a lot of games.

“Our job as coaches is to get back to what made us win all those games. That’s working hard, playing with a tremendous amount of effort and being disciplined, being smart, playing fast and playing physical.”

Virtually none of that was evident in the Texas Tech game, and Holgorsen was willing to accept the blame for not having his team on edge and ready to play as the Mountaineers had been the week before when they went into Texas and beat the Longhorns in WVU’s first Big 12 road game.

Asked to assess what happened from one week when the Mountaineers were at the top of their game to the next when they could not find any inspiration, Holgorsen answered:

“I have a lot of guys who wanted it to be easy. We had just gone through two close games in Baylor and Texas and won a couple of shootouts. We had a whole bunch of people going out there that wanted it to be easy.”

Obviously, it wasn’t. The defense was bullied all day, again falling short of any acceptable standards as they now have given up 147 points in three Big 12 games. The offense struggled with protection. Quarterback Geno Smith struggled with accuracy, and receivers had problems getting loose in the Red Raiders’ zone.

“We lost a whole lot of stuff technique-wise on both sides of the ball last week because our mindset was all screwed up,” Holgorsen said. “We lost sight of what’s important, which is understanding what your assignment is, what to do and doing it without hesitation when it comes to triggering it.”

Not that it should have been surprising. This game had the makings of a trap game all along, a second straight road trip in between games against two highly ranked conference opponents, the kind of game a team can overlook … and the Mountaineers did.

“It’s a problem, but for every football team that exists out there it happens at some point, and you have to fix it,” Holgorsen said. “It could happen in a bowl game. You’re dealing with 18- to 22-year-old kids, and who knows what their mindset is. It’s the responsibility of the coaches — and I take full responsibility for it — to figure out if their mindset is not where it’s supposed to be and fix it.”

He then added one final assessment.

“We failed last week.”

He has had some time to spend with his players since that long, silent plane ride home from Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

“Guys were embarrassed, hurt, they were disappointed. I mean, it’s no fun for anybody,” Holgorsen said.

He met with his team on Sunday and put them through a practice.

“We got in here and had a team meeting,” he said. “I didn’t sugarcoat anything. It wasn’t like I got in here and said, ‘It’s all right, guys. Don’t worry about it.’ That’s not what we did. Our job is to coach them and tell them what reality is.

“I told them what reality is before going out there, but we didn’t reach them. Again, that’s my fault for not reaching them.”

Holgorsen laid it on the line for his team.

“We were honest with them. There wasn’t a whole lot of positive stuff being said,” he explained.

“With that being said, the sense of urgency in meetings, the attention in meetings, the flying around in practice on Sunday night showed it was important to them.”

That was the only good sign in a week.

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU punter turns heads at linebacker

    They call him “Huey the Punter.”
    His real name is Houstin Syvertson. His real position is not punter. Not anymore, anyway.
    To be honest, until Saturday’s spring game, not many people following West Virginia football knew the name or the nickname. They know it now.

    April 13, 2014

  • Fans looking for answers in WVU Gold-Blue Game

    Perhaps the most important spring practice in Dana Holgorsen’s tenure as West Virginia football coach comes to a conclusion at 1 p.m. today when the annual Gold-Blue Spring Football Game is held at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.
    The gates open at noon and tickets are $10 with net proceeds benefiting WVU Children’s Hospital.

    April 12, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos