WVU to give final boost of energy against USF
Published: Monday, November 28, 2011
Updated: Monday, November 28, 2011 22:11
While Thursday's game against South Florida is not technically the last game on West Virginia's season schedule, head coach Dana Holgorsen expects his team to play as if it was not heading to a bowl game.
"We have to prepare like it is," Holgorsen said. "We have (four) days where we can take a break later, but right now, there's not time to take a break … We have to do it right now."
Holgorsen even went as far as to say the outcome of Thursday's game will determine the lasting legacy this season's team leaves behind.
"We better give it everything we (have), because this team will be remembered by what happens on Thursday night," he said.
One thing Holgorsen will be watching closely in practice the next few days are the special teams units. Junior wide receiver Tavon Austin muffed a punt against Pittsburgh and was replaced by redshirt senior wide receiver Devon Brown.
"(Austin) was disappointed with what he did in the game," Holgorsen said. "He played well offensively. What Pittsburgh did was pretty smart – they sky-kicked it, (and) they didn't get any depth (on the punts)," he said.
When it comes to Thursday's game against USF, Holgorsen said the situation at punt returner is still up in the air.
"I don't know yet; it will either be (Austin) or (Brown) – we'll figure it out."
Redshirt junior punter Corey Smith is expected to start this week – which comes as no surprise after his success against Pittsburgh. Holgorsen gave credit to Smith, both for his performance and his resilient attitude throughout the season.
"Corey, obviously, coming in, congratulations to him on being the Big East special teams player of the week. He could have folded his tent six or seven weeks ago," he said.
"It's funny, he asked me on Wednesday prior to the Friday game, he said, ‘Are you ever going to let me (punt) again?' and I said, ‘Yeah, you better be ready. You never know when your time is going to come when you have to go in there and help the team' – and that's exactly what he did."
For most teams, a short week would be an opportune time to rest players and allow for crucial time to recover from typical day-to-day injuries. Holgorsen, however, admitted that the Mountaineers don't have that luxury.
"We're worn down – that's probably the biggest problem with what we're experiencing up front. We can't back off as much as we want because we're in year one and we don't have a lot of guys with a whole lot of experience," he said.
South Florida redshirt junior quarterback B.J. Daniels is still nursing a sprained shoulder and is questionable for Thursday's game.
Sophomore quarterback Bobby Eveld will get the start for the fourth consecutive week if Daniels is unable to play. Holgorsen conceded that Eveld is more of a mystery given the lack of game time he has played.
"We don't have a lot of material (because) B.J. has taken a lot of snaps for those guys the last three years," he said.
West Virginia fans may remember Eveld from last year, when he filled in for Daniels against Connecticut in a game that would determine who represented the Big East in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.