Holgorsen wants to see improvements from Mountaineer offense soon
Published: Monday, September 12, 2011
Updated: Monday, September 12, 2011 22:09
One series in the second quarter of Saturday's game could perfectly sum up the frustrations the No. 18 West Virginia football team had during the first half against Norfolk State.
The Mountaineers were starting to get on a roll. Junior quarterback Geno Smith completed a 45-yard pass to Tavon Austin to get to the one-yard line. Six plays later, with just one yard until the end zone, the WVU offense had to settle for a Tyler Bitancurt field goal.
"It was flat out embarrassing," said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen. "I don't have an answer for it. It's the same stuff we've done for a long time and if we can't come off and move people, it's not good."
West Virginia picked up just 19 total yards in the first quarter and finished the half with 124 yards.
The second half was when the Mountaineers were able to start getting things turned around, especially offensively.
A 28-point third quarter was the start of the turnaround WVU was in need of to pull away from the Spartans.
"We called the same stuff," Holgorsen said. "It's about being a work in progress and getting better. We're young and inexperienced, but we can't use that as an excuse."
Part of why West Virginia was able to excel as much as it did in the second half was because of the offense's balanced passing attack. For the second week in a row, WVU had nine receivers register receptions and five different players caught touchdown passes from Smith and freshman quarterback Paul Millard.
"That's an attribute to all the skill players," said senior inside receiver Devon Brown, who led all WVU receivers with 109 yards. "It just shows that anyone can be dangerous at any given time, you can't key in on one player.
"Top to bottom, there aren't many teams that have more weapons than we do. We just have to come in week in and week out and prove it."
Although the Mountaineers were able to make the improvements they needed to win in the second half, Holgorsen still didn't see everything he expected to see out of his team in the final two quarters of play.
He wasn't, and hasn't been, pleased with the tempo the offense has played at in its first two games of the year.
"We don't understand it. The only way I can get them to line up fast is by yelling at them," he said. "When the play is over, we need to hop up and get lined up in tempo. It's frustrating, but we'll keep working at it."
At times during the first half of Saturday's game, audible boos were heard throughout Milan Puskar Stadium when the Mountaineer offense was struggling.
"Everyone's been hyping us up and telling us how good we can be and what we can do," Smith said. "Ultimately, it comes down to performance on the field. It has nothing to do with talking or newspaper articles or blogs, it's all about us giving effort out there on the field."
Until they get to where they feel they should be, Holgorsen and his team will continue doing the one thing they've done up to this point in the year.
"We are going to keep them accountable for what they do wrong," Holgorsen said. "For what the team does, what the unit does, there is not a whole lot of satisfaction – we have a long ways to go."