The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

October 16, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Is WVU taking longest ever to settle on QB, lineup?

MORGANTOWN — Dana Holgorsen’s so-called “work in progress” as third-year head coach of West Virginia University’s ailing football program obviously hasn’t been doing very well.

Hopefully, the struggling Mountaineers (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) will fare somewhat better during the remainder of this 2013 campaign. There don’t appear to be any more “gimme games” on the schedule, though.

What continues to be a most perplexing problem, however, is that the university’s highest paid coaching staff in 122 years of football faces the season’s second half without having settled on a starting quarterback.

What’s more, I’m told there are other positions at which shuffling of starters continues — not only on offense but on defense. Could recruiting as well as coaching be factors?

I don’t know. Members of the media can’t even guess. Holgorsen closes all of his practices to reporters during the regular season.

I’ve been around 10 other head coaches in 68 years covering the WVU sports beat, and none was as secretive as Holgorsen. Even the two main front doors to the Milan Puskar Center are kept locked daily.

That prevents visitors to the campus from seeing WVU’s football Hall of Traditions, which Rich Rodriguez helped establish in the early years of this century.

Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson have given quarterbacks Paul Millard, Clint Trickett and Ford Childress two starts each during the first half of this season. Such uncertainty time-wise might be a school record on drawn-out decision-making.

Yes, injury was involved as a factor. But keep in mind that the coaches have had at least 70 days of practice this fall. And two of the three signal-callers were here previously and also for last spring’s 15 days of practice.

Most of the other players on this year’s squad also were thought to be available then, except those nine junior college transfers (which has to be another all-time mark). Do you really build a football team with that amount of JCs in a year.

True, Holgorsen has had outstanding success as an offensive coordinator at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State. But it has been struggling — for the most part — since he assumed the reins at WVU in 2011.

His impressive debut resulted in a 10-3 record with players recruited almost solely by Bill Stewart, his predecessor who’s now deceased. Last year’s team finished a disappointing 7-6 after losing six of its last eight games.

While Holgorsen’s offense in scoring has ranked in the top 10 or top 15 nationally in past years, West Virginia ranks a shocking 94th after six games this season (among 124 Football Bowl Subdivision teams).

The Mountaineers are averaging only 24 points per game so far this year. Going into 2013, Holgorsen’s offenses averaged 41.1 ppg for his entire career.

He insists that the offensive scheme “is good.” He said, “It’s worked everywhere I’ve been for 15 years.” However, a growing number of people suspect that the more experienced head coaches in the Big 12 and elsewhere have poked holes in that offense which he brought to Morgantown.

“We knew we were going to be a work in progress,” Holgorsen said last week. “Everybody knew that. … We wanted it to come together quicker.

“I wish I was sitting here after six games saying that we know who we are, where we’re at and where we’re going. But that’s just not necessarily the current situation.”

Shouldn’t that be part of the responsibility, though, of a major college head coach to know at this point in a season?

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step Thursday

    Perhaps the most used – and least factual – cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
     

    July 30, 2014

  • Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
     

    July 30, 2014

  • smallwood-wendell(1)-2.jpg Charges against Smallwood dropped

     West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.
    It took him only three words to say what was on his mind: “God is Good.” Smallwood is now free to return to West Virginia and rejoin his Mountaineer teammates when they open camp for the 2014 season Thursday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

  • Were Bowlsby’s fears about college athletics’ future justified?

    I have never met or even talked to Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    But I did read a lengthy story on his 45-minute address to reporters last week on Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Among other things, Bowlsby forecast a startling change threatening the existence of intercollegiate athletics as we have known for these many, many years.

    July 28, 2014

  • 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

  • Seider's brother commits to WVU

    West Virginia University’s football team has received a commitment from one of its own.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides much optimism heading into 2014 season

    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.

    July 26, 2014

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