The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

September 10, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN- Problem with WVU offense?

MORGANTOWN — Over the past decade-plus Dana Holgorsen, no matter whose head phones he put on while on the sidelines, has been in charge of one of the nation’s most sophisticated, inventive and prolific passing attacks.

He sent quarterbacks and wide receivers to the National Football League almost the way Pizza Hut sends pizzas to college dormitories. The latest, of course, were quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, joining a list that included over the years such players as Wes Welker, Justin Blackmon, Graham Harrell, Case Keenum and Michael Crabtree.

As this season dawned he conducted a summer-long triangular competition at the quarterback spot between last year’s backup Paul Millard, last season’s redshirt freshman Ford Childress and a Florida State transfer with some experience in a different offense and roots in West Virginia, Clint Trickett.

Holgorsen decided upon Millard to open the season against William & Mary because he was advanced in this offense and its ways of communicating with the sideline, and stayed with him for a journey to Oklahoma.

“We settled on Paul because we felt like he gave us the best chance to win the opener and to travel and win at OU,” Holgorsen said during Monday’s Big 12 coaches conference call. “We told the other two guys at that point as well that they need to stay ready.”

Neither performance, however, gave Holgorsen the sense of security he wanted out of his passing game, Millard ranking 10th in passing efficiency in a conference where the overall quarterbacking has slipped considerably.

Millard was well aware of how far off his game was at Oklahoma, a game WVU had a chance to win had he played close to flawlessly.

“This one is going to be hard to swallow,” he said after the game. “We lose the game by nine points, but I know there were a lot of missed opportunities. There were throws where I had guys wide open and I just didn’t make the throw.”

Holgorsen spent a good bit of time analyzing film and the passing offense and admits it is nowhere near where he wants it to be.

“I don’t know when it’s going to happen to where I feel good about somebody and they take the bull by the horns and they lead the team to victory and they look good doing it,” Holgorsen said Monday. “Until that happens, we’re going to have to continue to rep all three.”

That not only gives Trickett a chance to earn a start — or at least playing time — against a really weak Georgia State team that comes in with a pair of losses to 1-AA teams including being clobbered by Chattanooga, but it also brings redshirt freshman Ford Childress back into the picture.

He had been relegated to holding the clipboard on the sidelines but Holgorsen knows he has to take a strong look at him also.

“We’ll shake things up on the offensive side of the ball when it pertains to our pass game,” Holgorsen said. “Not happy with that. We need to be way more efficient than we have been. I would anticipate some starting lineup changes with the receivers as well.”

Rest assured that Kevin White will move forward.

White missed the opener but came back and caught seven passes for 80 yards and showed he knows what to do with the ball once he gets his mitts on it.

In addition to revamping his receiving rotation, which is loaded with talented but inexperienced players, the coach has got to dig into his running game again.

Unhappy with junior college transfer Dreamius Smith’s blocking, he didn’t give him much playing time at Oklahoma, feeding him the ball just once after he gave him his only offense of the day, an impressive 76-yard touchdown run.

You got a back who can do that, you have to get him the ball, and for those who worry about him not blocking, the likes of Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, Barry Sanders and a thousand other top flight running backs had defenses keying on them and did pretty well.

The other part of the offense that Holgorsen has to find a way to incorporate more often is newcomer Charles Sims from Houston, who is a breakaway threat every time the ball is placed in his hands, be it handed there or via a pass.

oooooo

Next week’s Maryland game will be played at 3:30 p.m. and will be carried on one of the family of ESPN networks, not yet chosen. The choice of networks will be announced Sunday.

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

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • 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

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