Transition to Holgorsen’s offense won’t take long
Published: Thursday, March 31, 2011
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2011 23:03
When West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck performed a overhaul of the West Virginia football program, I was a bit leery.
It was not that I didn't like the changes he made to the coaching staff, such as bringing in new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and his staff, but I feared how the situation was going to play out.
The much-publicized and much-written about transition year before Holgorsen takes over as the head coach was something that made me squirm a bit.
How would current head coach Bill Stewart, who is a man of great pride, handle the situation?
The situation became even weirder for Stewart, as Holgorsen and his staff were given full autonomy of the offense, and defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel was given total control of the defense.
Those decisions left Stewart with the sole responsibility of managing special teams, which is something he had excelled at in the past.
On Monday, however, even those duties were stripped from Stewart when former Detroit Lions assistant secondary coach Daron Roberts was brought in to replace former wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway.
Roberts would be working with the receivers, but in addition, he would be handling the kick and punt return units.
In my eyes, this left Stewart in an even lamer duck position than he was in just a few short weeks ago.
But, my opinion changed somewhat on Wednesday morning as I took in the Mountaineers' first spring practice.
From what I saw Wednesday, all parties involved in the coaching transition are handling the situation better than even Luck could have hoped.
Holgorsen, along with his impressive staff, were in total control of his side of the ball, while Casteel's group looked to be making its first strides to rebuild from last season's losses.
All the while, Stewart stood behind the action, took in the plays and threw out a few words of encouragement to players.
After practice, when Stewart met with the media, he brought out his trademark smile and wink for the first time in a long time.
Furthermore, he spoke enthusiastically about getting back onto the field after what was assuredly a tough winter for him and his family.
After taking it all in, it dawned on me. Stewart's behavior made me realize if there were any coach in the country who could handle this type of awkward situation, it would be him.
It is absolutely clear Stewart has a great love for the state of West Virginia as well as the University.
By way of that, I am certain Stewart and those around him will handle this year with the utmost professionalism.
Stewart, love it or hate it, is going to be the head coach of West Virginia next season, but rest assured Mountaineer Nation – everything is going to be OK.
Many have talked about the divide that may be created because of the transition, but here's to hoping WVU will rally around Stewart and send him just like they brought him in just four short years ago – with a trademark win and a great moment in Mountaineer history.