Holgorsen ready for Big 12 opener with Baylor
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 07:09
Big 12 Conference play is no longer something the No. 7 West Virginia football team can look forward to.
It has arrived.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff will spend the remainder of the week preparing for No. 25 Baylor’s first trip to Morgantown Saturday at noon.
"Obviously, there’s been a lot of excitement about joining the Big 12, and it’s finally here," Holgorsen said in his weekly teleconference. "A lot of anticipation, not only within the state of West Virginia, but across the country … I’ve got a program that’s pretty established and used to winning. I don’t think that will take away from any of our preparation."
The Mountaineers enter conference play with a 3-0 record, including a tough-fought 31-21 victory against Maryland last Saturday.
Despite just 21 points scored, the Terrapins were able to move up and down the field at will while exposing weaknesses in the West Virginia defense.
Baylor is averaging more than 50 points per game, and the Mountaineers will rely on their defense much more heavily against the Bears.
"(The defensive) side of the ball is important; I don’t care who you’re playing. Obviously, Baylor poses a problem with more experienced guys," Holgorsen said. "I think they’ve got seven or eight seniors and four or five juniors that play on that offensive side. We just need to worry about us and try to get a little bit better than we were last week."
If West Virginia wants to keep up in scoring with the explosive Baylor offense, it will need a quality performance from senior quarterback Geno Smith.
Smith was sacked Saturday for the first time since Dec. 1, 2011, and he had more incompletions against the Terps than in his first two games combined.
Yet, the Heisman candidate was still able to put together an impressive game.
"Everyone wants to say he didn’t play very good last week, but I think he played pretty good," Holgorsen said. "He did a great job of taking care of the ball. We put a lot more on him in the passing game because we couldn’t get our running game going."
Baylor runs a similar style of offense as the Mountaineers. But, Holgorsen isn’t looking too far into the similarities.
"There are some similarities. But there are quite a bit of differences as well," he said. "Any time you spread the ball around and you try to throw it around and play with some tempo, there are going to be some similarities."
Holgorsen spent multiple years in the Big 12 as an assistant before taking the head coaching position at WVU.
His history of playing against Baylor could be something he could use to his advantage Saturday. But, the second-year head coach feels it works both ways.
"There are a lot of guys on our staff that have coached against them (Baylor)," Holgorsen said. "With that said, they’re going to know a lot about our team on all three sides of the ball, too."