Dana Holgorsen isn’t once to mince words. He has been outspoken on many issues off the field. But when he is on the sidelines of a football game, he can blow at any minute.
In the second half of Sunday’s game against Virginia Tech, Dana Holgorsen got his money’s worth when berating an official. Actually, he was berating a handful of officials. Holgorsen lit into anybody wearing a striped shirt when West Virginia was flagged for a a late-hit out-of-bounds on a Virginia Tech kick return.
It was a football play as any football play comes. James Clark, the Virginia Tech kick returner, tip-toed down the sideline for a nice gain. Clark braced for impact on a hit from a West Virginia special teams player. He knew the hit was coming, he wasn’t blindsided by it. But because he may have been an inch out of bounds, West Virginia was flagged for the infraction.
Holgorsen argued with the officials after that play. And, he had argued several times before in the game. It was that out-of-bounds play that gave the Hokies great field position. Shortly after that, VT quarterback Josh Jackson floated a pass up to open wide receiver Cam Phillips to give the Hokies the lead.
It was a big turning point in such a close game. It also led Holgorsen to believe that the referees certainly aided in the outcome. Just looking at the penalties, WVU was flagged nine time for 81 yards. The Hokies were flagged five times for 34 yards. Going a little deeper, Virginia Tech was not called for one holding penalty while on offense. That fact, alone, shows a disconnect in how the game was called between the Hokies and Mountaineers.
The points Holgorsen brings up are valid. He’s not totally bashing the officials, who came from the Big Ten Conference, but he is telling his opinion based on facts of how the game was called. If three officials were listening to Dana Holgorsen and hearing him out, a fourth referee had no business butting in and taking matters into his own hands.
The penalties and field position are actually what could have cost the Mountaineers the game. Dana Holgorsen went as far as owning up to it and taking the blame for the loss. This isn’t the first time he has done that in his six-year coaching career with the Mountaineers. He has said that it’s his fault for not having his team prepared for games.
That wasn’t the case against the Hokies. The Mountaineers looked fresh and fired up. They fed off the energy from the crowd and played admirably on the field. Holgorsen’s meltdown allowed for the Hokies to move up and they scored off it. Also, Dana Holgorsen is now in charge of special teams. That was by far the worst unit for West Virginia against VT.
WVU didn’t make a lot of mistakes against the Hokies, but as a head coach, Dana Holgorsen sure did. Everybody can learn from that game. The Mountaineers and Dana Holgorsen can show exactly what they learned when East Carolina comes to town on Saturday.