Holgorsen, WVU getting back to fundamentals
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 00:11
For the fourth consecutive week, the Mountaineers have been in action, the West Virginia football team lost last weekend, and its frustrated head coach Dana Holgorsen talked about getting back to fundamentals in his weekly Tuesday press conference.
"It’s not a lot of fun for anybody," Holgorsen said. "There is only one way to get on track, and there is only one way that you can win in college football. I don’t care what conference you are in. The only way you win is by hard work. And we are going to work hard."
It’s the first four-game losing streak since 1986 for West Virginia and the first one that Holgorsen has ever been a part of, according to the second-year head coach.
One of the biggest issues holding back the Mountaineers, according to Holgorsen’s remarks Tuesday, has been the lack of West Virginia’s ability to run the ball consistently, especially in order to pick up short first downs in key situations.
Senior running back Shawne Alston finally returned to the field after missing several games with a deep thigh bruise, but even Holgorsen said Alston still doesn’t look the same as he did in the first couple weeks of the season.
"Shawne Alston is trying but is not capable of carrying the ball right now. He is trying to gut it out and play," Holgorsen said.
Andrew Buie, who’s started in Alston’s absence, has failed for the most part to live up to his big game in Austin against the Longhorns where he showed tremendous potential in picking up 207 rushing yards, and the third-string back Dustin Garrison, who is still recovering from an ACL tear that occurred at the end of last season, has also been average in the few appearances he has made this season.
"Dustin Garrison is still six months away from being who he was last year," Holgorsen said.
Holgorsen claimed because of the injuries and other issues with the running game, he would ultimately look to rely on recruiting in order to bring in some extra production to the running game in the future.
In addition to the lackluster production on the ground, Holgorsen also singled out his special teams unit, calling their performance against Oklahoma last Saturday an embarrassment.
"What’s sad about the special teams situation is that it was embarrassing," Holgorsen said. "It was embarrassing last week. So, we went out Sunday night, and we worked on fielding punts. We worked on Tavon in the back and Stedman in the back on fielding a kick, which is a live ball and fielding it. We worked on the punt landing at the five-yard line and downing the ball."
Perhaps another slightly less obvious indicator of how the season has turned over the last month was the fact that not a single reporter or Holgorsen uttered Geno Smith’s name throughout the entire press conference. Just weeks before the senior quarterback had been the focus for the majority of the media’s questions because of his tremendous play and potential road to a Heisman trophy.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s game at home against No. 12 Oklahoma, Holgorsen told reporters Tuesday that he was actually excited about the chance to face Oklahoma’s defense (certainly a rare claim) because it implements a fairly different style of overall defense compared to what the Mountaineers have seen over the last three or four weeks. Specifically, Holgorsen claimed the fact the Sooners spend a lot of time in man coverage, compared to the zone coverages WVU has seen employed by a majority of the Mountaineers’ other Big 12 opponents this year, and according to the second-year head coach, this could be something that West Virginia may be able exploit.
"I can assure you it poses different challenges," Holgorsen said of Oklahoma’s defensive scheme. "There are one-on- one matchups. Are our guys good enough to win those matchups? We will see Saturday night," he said.