Is there a simple answer to Dana Holgorsen’s complex problems?
No, he made it certain on Monday that he’s not about to:
a.) change philosophies.
b.) change quarterbacks.
But it appears he does have to change emphasis, something he really has already begun to do.
A year ago he worked out of tempo, armed with an NFL quarterback in Geno Smith and a pair of NFL receivers in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
Why not run tempo? The more plays you run, the more opportunities those players had a chance to do something special.
Now, though, it’s a redshirt freshman quarterback in Ford Childress learning his trade ... the hard way.
Maybe the approach should change? Maybe this should be a slow down, running team to eliminate the area where most of the mistakes are being made and to take advantage of what seems to be the most talent?
“The philosophy has remained the same for about 15 straight years, so I doubt that’s going to change any more than it has,” he said. “I mean, there’s always an evolution of what you are trying to get accomplished on offense. We have spent a lot of time on the run game and it’s not bad.
“It can always improve, but what’s wrong with the offense is we’re not executing the pass game like we should. I’ve been saying that since Day 1. It’s still a work in progress.”
That means the protection, the receivers, but most of all the quarterback.
Holgorsen started the season with holdover Paul Millard as his starter but didn’t like what he saw.
He bypassed the more experienced Clint Trickett, a transfer from Florida State, for Childress.
It’s a choice a coach has to make. He watches and decides which he believes fits best and he came up with Childress, who debuted with a decent performance against a terrible Georgia State team, then followed that up with a dismal performance against Maryland.
Despite that, Holgorsen says Childress is his guy.
“His mentality didn’t change on the sideline (against Maryland). It was good to see that. He’s a hard worker and he’s going to get out there and try to improve at his craft, which is distributing the ball as good as he possibly can, getting us in the right run sets and handling the right leadership role on the sideline, which I think will get better and better each and every game,” Holgorsen explained.
Don’t bother suggesting some kind of alternating quarterback situation for WVU. Holgorsen isn’t interested.
“I would think everyone would want an established guy at quarterback. That’s what everybody does,” he said. “People play different quarterbacks when everyone brings something different to the table. The three guys we have are all pocket guys. They are not option guys. Look at Oklahoma State. I’ve been following them closely.
“Mike Gundy knows a thing or two about quarterbacks in his own right and the guy brings a thing or two different to the table. What J.W. Walsh brings to the table is different than what Clint Chelf brings to the table.
“Last year when they played all three guys they had to because of injuries, which is unfortunate. This year they settled on J.W. and he’s a tremendous football player.”
What you might dare suggest, rather than revolving quarterbacks, is to turn to a power run game, to use Dreamius Smith as the featured back with Charles Sims as a tailback or something coming off the win with Wendell Smallwood behind Sims and Dustin Garrison as a change of pace.
Maybe even go to a tight end set with Cody Clay to help the blocking and to give you a third-down target to go with talented but unproven wide receivers.
Holgorsen has already begun leaning in this direction and it may not bear the fingerprint he wants his offense to ultimately have, but it may give him the best chance to win in a conference that doesn’t see a whole lot of this style of football.
Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.
Is there a simple answer to Dana Holgorsen’s complex problems?
- WVU Sports
WVU women topple Texas, advance to Big 12 championship
Buckle your seatbelts. It’s time for West Virginia-Baylor III, and this time the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament championship is the prize.
HERTZEL COLUMN- Ejim’s season wasn’t better than Staten’s
You’ll pardon a little old-fashioned outrage this morning, I hope.
It doesn’t come as often from this old body as it used to.
Staten, Harris tabbed with Big 12 honors
West Virginia’s point guard Juwan Staten was named to the All-Big 12 team and selected as a member of the league’s All-Defensive team but lost out to Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim in the Player of the Year voting.
WVU riding Kansas win into Big 12 Tournament
All season long, whenever anyone would ask coach Bob Huggins what his West Virginia team had to do to win games — and believe it, that question came up before almost every game — Huggins always had the same answer.
Staten overlooked for Big 12 Player of the Year
West Virginia’s point guard Juwan Staten was overlooked by the Big 12 Coaches in the Player of the Year voting Sunday, the award going to Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, but Staten was named to the All-Big 12 first team and the All-Defensive team.
Mountaineers stun No. 8 Kansas, 92-86
The missing link finally showed itself for West Virginia University on Saturday, maybe just in time to save the season for the Mountaineers.
“Better late than never,” is the way WVU guard Eron Harris put it after freshman center Devin Williams stepped out of the shadows and put together the game everyone has been waiting for in leading the Mountaineers to a crucial 92-86 victory over Kansas.
Fairmont native named next Mountaineer
The riffle has been passed.
Fairmont native Michael Garcia was named West Virginia University’s new Mountaineer Saturday.
The announcement came at the eight minute mark of the men’s basketball team’s eventual 92-86 upset win over No. 8 Kansas at the WVU Coliseum.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Eron Harris bounces back to spark WVU
One minute and forty-seven seconds had ticked off the Coliseum clock on Saturday afternoon and things were off to the kind of start most people had expected, Kansas in the lead, albeit as slender as a one-point lead can be.
That was when Juwan Staten spotted Eron Harris open beyond the 3-point arc.
Staten plans to test NBA after season
To the surprise of no one, West Virginia University guard Juwan Staten is going to explore his opportunities in the NBA at the end of this season, a season in which he has become perhaps the best player in the Big 12.
WVU women outlast TCU to advance in Big 12 tournament
In the afternoon, West Virginia’s men’s team gave up a career-high 41 points to Andrew Wiggins but found a way to tough out a victory over Kansas.
Then Saturday evening, the West Virginia women’s team gave up a career-high 32 points to Zahna Medley but found a way to tough out a victory over TCU in the second round of the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championships in Oklahoma City.
- More WVU Sports Headlines
- WVU women topple Texas, advance to Big 12 championship