West Virginia University head football coach Dana Holgorsen just finished up his Sunday teleconference. Coach once again touched on Louisville, Brad Starks, Cincinnati, and other topics. Here we go.
On Molinari’s punt performance
We would have went with Corey on the next one. I’ve told those guys all year long that they’re going to be held accountable for what they do, so we would have went with Corey the next time. We didn’t punt again, so at this point we’ll see how practice goes this week.
On the blocked field goal
It was more of them making a play than anything. The kid played with tremendous effort – he cornered, jumped, got it, took one bounce and landed in the lap of the other guy. Operation time was probably a little slow and then our right wing probably could have gotten a better punch but that stuff happens fast. You’re talking right around 1.2 seconds of football. I give their kid credit for making that play. We had opportunities to make that same play, and we didn’t.
On what makes an efficient football team
Getting turnovers on defense, getting off the field on third downs on defense, red zone defense, not giving up touchdowns, trying to hold them to field goals. Offensively, along the same lines, not turning the ball over, not having negative plays, trying to move forward and keep yourself in manageable third down situations, converting third down situations, finishing drives in the red zone – which we’ve been pretty good at finishing drives in the red zone. We were four of six, which were obviously the field goals which were the difference in the game.
On calling things differently because of the lack of efficiency
Probably a little bit, and maybe subconsciously more than anything. Our third down stuff this week was better, because of how we approached second downs. When it was second down, we tried to get half of it, because we’re not a team that can convert third and long. Our pass protection is not very good, which puts us in a bind when we’re trying to throw the ball down the field. Third and longs have been troublesome for us. Our third down percentage was better based on doing a better job on second downs.
On the problems with special teams and addressing those problems
Kickoff returns and kickoff teams have been problems at times. We did well with those units yesterday, and in football, after every game, there’s going to be different problem, that’s just the way it is in every football game that exists. You try to get better at them, and you wind up the next week and do your best to win the game. It’s aggravating that it’s a combination of stuff. Coaching-wise, we’ll take the blame for half of it and playing-wise they have to take the blame for half of it as well.
On Brad Starks leaving the game with the injury
He’ll be out for the next three games
On why the Big East is so competitive compared to other places you’ve coached
All eight are doing the same thing – relatively comparable recruiting bases, facilities – all that stuff is pretty comparable and any time that’s the case it’ll probably be as competitive as it is. Cincinnati’s no different, there’s a reason they’re first in the league right now, they’re playing with tremendous effort, confidence, energy and things tend to go your way when you play with that kind of stuff.
On WVU’s effort, confidence and energy during games
We talked about it all week, but we didn’t have any energy – our sidelines were dead, and there wasn’t a whole lot of excitement when things did happen for us. So it’s a problem that’s being addressed, and we’re going to try hard to fix it.
On how to fix those problems
You talk about it and get a whole bunch of coaches and players and seniors working towards one goal and right now that just doesn’t exist
On Cincinnati’s attitude toward the game
There’s not a whole lot of quit in them. The Louisville game, they were down 10 at halftime, and they came out with a tremendous amount of effort. We were tied at halftime, and it looked to me in the locker room like we were losing – that’s being addressed this week.
On Stark’s injury and how much of a loss it is
Yeah, I was proud of him, he came back with some plays for us which if you look through the course of his career this is kind of the way it’s been. Whoever we put back there is probably not going to be as talented as him and might not be able to do the things he’s been able to the last few weeks, but we have to put someone back there.
On less obvious mistakes throughout the game noticeable after watching the film
There was some good stuff on all three sides of the ball but none of the sides put a winning performance up there. Offensively, you can talk about yards and 35 points and whatever it is, it wasn’t enough. We did too many things wrong not to win the ball on that side, same thing defensively, we came up with some good stuff, but we didn’t get enough turnovers.
We had an eight minute drive offensively to end the game, and that is something that’s discouraging. Defensively, we did some things that were ok, but it wasn’t a winning performance. Obviously, the same thing with special teams, as good as the kickoff coverage was and the field position that was gained on kickoff returns, the other stuff wasn’t a winning performance.
On kickoff returns and Tavon Austin’s performance
We don’t change our schemes up too much. This is what we do, and their job is to block people. The returners – Tavon and Brad Starks – were much better than the blockers, those two guys did a good job. Making people miss and shedding tackles, it’s not like we schemed it up.
On Jared Barber’s performance and the competition with Jewone Snow
We’re constantly looking for more players, period. He’s a true freshman, and he’s been doing a good job in practice. We put him out there based on the staff not being extremely happy with some of the other people.