Big 12 coaches heads turned after WVU Orange Bowl win
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 08:04
Coaches from around the Big 12 Conference already knew that offenses run by WVU head football coach Dana Holgorsen could score.
His offenses have ranked in the top 15 since 2005 as either head coach or offensive coordinator.
But when the West Virginia football team won last year’s Orange Bowl in record-setting fashion, scoring 70 points and racking up 589 yards, it turned some heads.
"Dana (Holgorsen)’s doing a great job. Just look at their bowl game with Clemson," said Texas head coach Mack Brown. "They could always run, they play an exciting brand of offense because of their speed and they’ve always been really physical and tough on defense.
"I think they come in as a team to be reckoned with in our league immediately."
The Mountaineers will play their first Big 12 game Sept. 29 at home against Baylor — the league’s third place finisher from a year ago.
Baylor head coach Art Briles was on the Texas Tech staff with Holgorsen and he thinks West Virginia’s offensive power will fit in nice with the Big 12.
"He was a really good coach then and has done an outstanding job in his last three stops at Houston, Oklahoma State and then last year at West Virignia. He’s very familiar with this part of the country and the Big 12," Briles said.
West Virginia and Baylor have never played.
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, who hired Holgorsen as his offensive coordinator in 2010, also said that adding WVU was a smart move for the conference, but downplayed having to go head-to-head with his former assistant.
"Ultimately, I don’t know if that really matters. There’s really no difference than anyone else in our league," Gundy said. "He may know some of our plays, we may know some of his plays. On Saturday it comes down to the players. They got to go out there and execute."
West Virginia travels to Stillwater, Okla., to take on the Cowboys Nov. 10.
"West Virginia has had a lot of football success in the last 20 years," he said.
Charlie Weis, entering his first season as the head coach at Kansas, said West Virginia will also bring a good fanbase.
"I really appreciate how rowdy the fans are. They’re diehard fans, and it’s a real tough place to play," Weis said. "The stadium is a great venue."
After hosting Baylor, the Mountaineers will travel in back-to-back weekends to play Texas and Texas Tech. With home contests against Kansas State Oct. 20, and fellow Big 12 newcomer TCU Nov. 3, the Mountaineers will travel to play Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma will travel to Morgantown Nov. 17, before heading to Iowa St. Nov. 24 and finishing its season with a home game against Kansas.
"They get a lot of those kids from the Pittsburgh, West Virginia and North Carolina area," Brown said. "They’ve really done a great job recruiting in Florida and just watching them the past few years in the BCS, they’ve just done a tremendous job."