Holgorsen wants to end season on high note
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 06:11
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen knows this season won’t end like last year when West Virginia defeated Clemson in the Orange Bowl, but he does know the Mountaineers still have a winning record to play for.
"There is a big difference in 7-5 and 6-6 in our minds. We will work our tail off to get as prepared as we can," Holgorsen said. "We have to keep pressing forward."
A winning record for WVU will likely keep them in a warm weather bowl game like the Holiday Bowl in San Diego as opposed to the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City if they were to finish at .500. Though Saturday is Senior Day for Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and 20 other
Mountaineers, Holgorsen believes that real Senior Day is playing in a good bowl game.
"For 22 of our guys, this will be the last home game that they will play for West Virginia," Holgorsen said. "They’re excited about it, and I am excited about preparing them for it.
"This game, much like the Pitt game last year, will be their last time here, but we want to enjoy a good bowl experience with them."
If WVU is to get to that seventh victory, it knows it cannot take Kansas lightly. With just one win against an FCS opponent and no wins in Big 12 conference play, Holgorsen has assured his players not to look ahead to the bowl game because five of Kansas’ 10 losses have come by a touchdown or less.
"If our guys have learned anything this year, it’s you better be ready to play. All of the opponents in the Big 12 can win on any given day. Kansas is no different," Holgorsen said, "They are a couple points away from having three Big 12 wins this season. We have to play hard."
Holgorsen and his defensive staff have to prepare the defense to slow down Kansas’ running game. Ranked No. 19 nationally, the Jayhawks average 216 yards a game on the ground. With a one-two punch of James Sims and Tony Pierson, WVU’s defense will be tested again.
"They have become more of a running team. They are going to lean on their two good running backs, James Sims and Tony Pierson. They are a top-20 team in the country when it comes to rushing offense," Holgorsen said. "Ultimately, defensive football is getting in your gaps, defeating blocks and making tackles. We have done that in the run game a good bit, with the exception of tackling Iowa State’s quarterback."
West Virginia’s run defense is giving up a little more than 140 yards per game on the ground, so Holgorsen understands that there is a shot to shut them down.
"We think we match up with them pretty well," Holgorsen said.