WVU head football coach Dana Holgerson held his weekly press conference earlier this afternoon. The talk was dominated by chats with the media members about the debacle that took place on Saturday, in which the Maryland Terrapins torched the Mountaineers 37-0. Holgerson started out the conference talking about how West Virginia will move on from the loss and how they will take on the upcoming matchup with the #11 Oklahoma State Cowboys.
“We have Big 12 football this week. The sun came up Sunday, and we went back to work. There are plenty of things to work on; we are all smart enough to understand that. We went out and had a good practice, and these kids are resilient. They are a lot more resilient than the coaching staff. We were pretty hard on ourselves, and that was the general message. As I told (the media) after the game on Saturday, there is plenty of blame to go around on all three sides of the ball. The best way to fix that is to look in the mirror and figure out what you can fix. That’s exactly what I have done; there are plenty of things that I can do better. I plan on doing that this week with a good Oklahoma State team coming in. We know a lot about them. Obviously, I was there a few years ago, we played them last year. Our guys are very familiar with them. It’s one of the teams that they understand more than the rest of them. They are very similar to us on offense.”
Holgerson showed off his knowledge of the Cowboys, as he was the Offensive Coordinator there for a year.
“They have an athletic quarterback. J.W. Walsh has won a lot of football games, he’s a coach’s kid, he’s savvy, he throws the ball well, he runs well, he makes it work. They’ve always been good up front. Joe Wickline coaches those guys up, and he’s done that for nine years straight. They are always going to try and run the ball. They are very well rounded. They are going to play with a tremendous amount of tempo. They try to snap it about every 20 seconds, which will be different compared to what we have seen. They play with a lot of effort defensively. They’ve been running the same system there for a while. Glenn Spencer is a great football coach. He took over for Bill Young last year. He does a great job and gets them to play with a lot of effort. The scheme is not that tough. They are going to play four down. They are going to play a couple different coverages. They are mixing in some man coverage as well. They are not going to blitz a bunch, but they coach really hard on effort and technique. On special teams, we have to be leery of both of their returners, both Josh Stewart and Justin Gilbert are guys who have scored, and scored quite a bit in the return game. It’ll be a tough challenge all-around with a Top 10 team coming in undefeated. We are sitting here at 2-2, with both of our losses coming against teams who are undefeated, on the road, and who I think are really good football teams. This week is no different. That’s why we are excited to be in the Big 12 is to be in these kinds of situations. To play teams who have a national standing and rankings, we have to step up and get a little better this week. If we do that then we will have a chance to win.”
Holgerson went on to talk about how the Mountaineers have caught the turnover bug recently.
“We have to field a punt, first and foremost, and if you look at our running backs, it’s spread out between them. We aren’t giving it to one guy, and he has a fumbling issue. It can be fixed pretty easily, and I think it will be this week.”
Dana also had interesting comments about the struggles of punt returner Ronald Carswell, and his opinion on starting quarterback Ford Childress.
“We have had three guys back there (at the punt returner position). I’m comfortable with Ronnie back there, he has the most confidence. There’s no excuse, but their guy dropped two as well on Saturday, the wind was swirling, it was wet. He made a poor decision, but he’s going to get experience and get better at it. I like his confidence and his mental makeup and believe that he will make it happen. No one was more upset than him about that punt. You can’t keep playing musical chairs at positions. You have to believe in some guys to make plays, and I do believe in them, they are trying hard. If I believe in them a little more, than we are going to go out there and get better.”
“He didn’t have much of an opportunity to go vertical. Maryland did a good job and was much more basic than they were in the previous game. They were able to give their corners more support. Randy Edsall is a great coach, and defensively they have good players. We got down, and they dropped a lot of people into coverage. We weren’t comfortable with getting three or four yards here and there. We had to attempt to throw the ball down the field; the protection also broke down a few times. He needs to have a sense of urgency in the pocket. If he can work around some guys then he can throw the ball down the field.”
If you would like to observe the rest of the news conference, here is the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtyJs3nwidc