Bye week a busy time for West Virginia
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 08:10
Though there are many things West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen hopes for his team to accomplish during the Mountaineers’ bye week, there is one primary request he has for his team: to grow up.
"Aside from the fact that we would like our 20 freshmen to be seniors, we need to, from a mentality standpoint, grow up. We can’t use the excuse of not having enough snaps," he said.
"We have to grow and play older than we are. We need the older guys to act older. We need the older guys to bring along the younger kids. We need them to be tough when adversity hits."
Holgorsen referenced Kansas State, a team that walloped West Virginia 55-14 last week, as an ideal example of what his team should be aiming for.
"We played a team (Kansas State) that has that mastered. They are the most mature team in college football," he said.
"They are mentally tough, and their technique is not lost during the heat of the battle. We can learn a lot from playing a team like that. I have a lot of respect for how they run their program."
Holgorsen echoed his sentiment from his post-game comments Saturday in saying the coaching staff feels good about the defensive schemes but not the execution it’s seeing.
"We mix things up, but it ultimately comes down to execution. You guys saw where a couple of times the ball was in the air and we had a guy there. They made the plays," he said.
"Defensively, we need to do a better job of getting in the right plays. We are putting you in a position to be successful," he said.
"Now the player has to take over, but as coaches we have something to do with that, too. We have to do our best as coaches, and they have to make the play."
Senior running back Shawne Alston once again did not play in the Kansas State game; Holgorsen said he hopes to put Alston in practices, and the team will reevaluate his status as the TCU game draws nearer.
"We are going to see if he can practice. We are not going to dress him out and say that we hope he can play. He is going to have to practice," he said.
"We want to get him to practice, so he can play in a game; it has been that way for a month. This week we are going to practice him and try to incorporate him. If it looks good, then we will play him.
"If he is out there hobbling around, then we will not play him. I haven’t even thought about the redshirt thing. If he can play and help us win, then he will play," he said.
As most teams do, West Virginia will utilize the off weekend to spend some time recruiting – something Holgorsen said is a primary focus.
"We will focus on recruiting this week. We’ve had four coaches out this week (and) we will have all of our coaches out this Friday and Saturday. We’ll try and find some guys that want to be Mountaineers," he said.
Schematically, the Mountaineers will not begin preparing specifically for TCU until next week; however, Holgorsen said he still has plenty he wants to work on in practice this week – starting with fundamentals.
"When you play as many young kids as we are, the first thing that is going to go is the technique during the heat of battle. We will focus a lot on fundamentals and on basic football," he said.
"Offensively, that will be tempo, our base plays, blocking and keeping the timing. Defensively, it will be proper alignment, technique, back pedaling, breaking on the ball, run fits and making tackles. We will put the ball down and play at the end of practice in order to develop our young guys," he said.