WVU wants to keep momentum against Louisville this weekend
Published: Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 02:11
Heading into this week's game against Louisville, the No. 21 West Virginia football team knows it is able to battle back in tough Big East Conference games after seeing the way it responded to adversity last week against Rutgers.
Now the key is continuing that momentum through to the rest of the season.
"When your back is to the wall, you tend to respond with a bit more energy," said head coach Dana Holgorsen. "Last week, there were a lot of opportunities to shut it down. We responded better within the game (than against Syracuse).
"I anticipate our preparation (this week) will be fine. It's about continuing to mature as a team and play well together, and pick each other up and having more energy and excitement than the other team."
As for West Virginia's move to the Big 12 Conference that was announced on Friday, Holgorsen's thoughts on it remained the same as they were last week when everything was just speculation. He's not worrying about it right now.
The focus right now is on the task at hand – winning the Big East Conference title.
"Last week, when it became official on Friday, we brought the guys together for about 30 seconds and told them it was official, but then we told them it doesn't mean anything," Holgorsen said. "It doesn't mean anything with this week and it doesn't mean anything next week."
While his current focus is completely on this week's game, Holgorsen did talk about how excited he was for the future of the football program in its new conference.
"I understand the Big 12 and what they're about from a national perspective, from a facilities perspective and an academic perspective," he said. "The amount of changes and challenges that are going to take place here at West Virginia are something that will take a long time to get done. It's a huge task – it's not an overnight fix.
"It's great to be able to solidify our future and what we need to do to put ourselves in a position to be successful."
But, as he said, this week the Mountaineers' focus is on Louisville, and that means slowing down the Cardinals' talented freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater has completed more than 63 percent of his passes and has thrown seven touchdowns this season.
"He's got the ability to make a play. He's like Geno was two years ago: growing into himself and learning," Holgorsen said. "He has the ability to get out of it and run down the field. He's developing a pretty good rapport with the guys around him."
Louisville has also had a lot of success this season defensively.
The Cardinals have allowed 16.2 points per game this season, while quarterbacks have only thrown for 198 yards per game.
"It starts with coaching," Holgorsen said. "Charlie Strong has been as well-respected of a defensive coordinator as there's been in the profession for the last two decades. The guy's won two national championships, and has been part of some good programs being the defensive coordinator – that tells you something."