The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

July 24, 2013

Holgorsen eager to remold offense

MORGANTOWN — If West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen isn’t getting his sleep these days it’s because of something other than losing wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey — to say nothing of a quarterback named Geno Smith — to the National Football League.

“I haven’t lost any sleep over Tavon and Stedman moving to the NFL,” Holgorsen said Tuesday as he took his turn addressing the media at the Big 12s annual Media Day at the Omni Hotel in Dallas. “We don’t hold anybody back. That’s not the first time we’ve lost receivers to the NFL and been able to line up next year and execute our offense.”

In fact, Holgorsen believes their departure could lead to a deeper, more versatile — note he did not go so far as to hint at better or more dangerous — receiving corps this coming season.

“It gets me excited of being able to get out there and face the challenge of taking 10 strong guys and coach them and be able to develop them,” he said.

His mind went back to when he first got to West Virginia.

“When I got here a couple of years ago, there were a couple of guys that hadn’t made a tremendous amount of plays, and we coached them, and we developed them, and they turned into phenomenal football players and will play in the league for a long time,” he said.

He was referring to Austin and Bailey, which just might be taking a bit too much credit as both of them came with all the standard equipment and few a extras, their improvement perhaps attached as much to Geno Smith’s improvement and to a change to a system in which it would be hard not to put up spectacular numbers as much as to coaching.

If it was just coaching, Ivan McCartney might have been leaving WVU with them for the NFL rather than begging for his return to try and find that kind of success this year.

The truth is, however, that this college ball, and a coach can’t lament player losses to the NFL very long, for getting them there is one of the coaches’ top goals, as it is the players’.

Because of that Holgorsen is restructuring his entire offense, wide receivers and quarterbacks front and center.

“You’re going to lose good players in college football. It happens every single year,” Holgorsen said. “Geno is going to be a great pro. We don’t try to compare him to anybody on our staff or any of that, but we’re in the same situation as, I think, seven or eight other Big 12 schools right now.”

Indeed, a year ago the Big 12 was a conference dominated by quarterbacks and passing, as it normally is. It just so happened that the eligibility of seven of them expired at the same time.

“The quarterback play in the Big 12 last year was phenomenal, and it’s always going to be phenomenal,” Holgorsen said. “It’s just going to be with newer people. Who our guy is going to be, I don’t know. We’ve got Clint Trickett coming in, who has probably as much experience in the college game as anybody in the Big 12, just because he’s been a starter in some big games (at Florida State, from where he transferred this year). He’s been around it his whole life.

“He’s a very smart kid, graduated in three years, backed up two first-round draft picks at Florida State in three years. He’s been around it his whole life and is a good player.”

All that, and Holgorsen still has not anointed him the starting QB.

“He’s got to come in and beat an experienced Paul Millard out, who has taken more reps than anybody on our campus. He’s taken 50 percent of the reps for a long, long time in practice. So he knows the offense better than anybody,” Holgorsen said.

“And then you’ve got Ford Childress, who’s going to continue to get better and better. He may have more potential than any of the other guys. He’s just young, with four years remaining. I like where we’re at with it and look forward to getting there and being able to coach him.”

Holgorsen, in fact, is in no hurry to name a starter.

“I’m not going to put a timetable on it. When one of those guys steps up, we’re going to name the starter and move forward with reps,” he said.

To listen to Holgorsen, who has complete confidence in his up-tempo offense and coaching ability, you come to believe that if a quarterback proves himself capable of doing as instructed, he believes you will see little fall-off in production from a year ago despite the high-profile exits.

Part of the reason is the fact that the running game may be much improved with Dustin Garrison recovered from a knee injury that slowed him much of last season and the transfer of one Charles Sims from Houston.

Sims, already a graduate, brings one year of eligibility and an ability to both run and catch as no one else on the team, leading to his being named the Big 12’s preseason Newcomer of the Year.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have his services for one year. He’s a great kid. He’s a tremendous football player,” Holgorsen said. “I was fortunate to be able to be involved with recruiting him when I was at Houston, and I had him for the first year there in 2009. That was probably his best year statistically.

“I know he’s been nicked up a little bit here the last couple of years. I didn’t promise him anything. He knows what I’m all about. He knows how I coach. He knows what our offense is about. So we need some playmakers on offense, after losing, I think, 90 percent of our production last year or whatever that crazy number is.

“He knew he’d be able to come in and fit in and get an opportunity to play in the Big 12. That was his motive.”

He didn’t have to leave Houston, didn’t want to leave Houston.

“He loves the University of Houston. He got his degree from there. He’ll be a Cougar for life, but he wanted to be able to play in the Big 12 to be able to increase his draft stock, which we’ll put him in position to be able to get that done.”

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

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • 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

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