The Mountaineers survived non-conference play unscathed and now the team and coaches look to opening up Big 12 play against the Kansas State Wildcats. Coach Holgorsen addressed the media Tuesday afternoon, where he discussed the team, pending changes and how they were preparing for a Kansas State team that the Mountaineers have yet to overcome.
Not only is this week the start of conference games, but it is Homecoming week for West Virginia and everyone is excited. Coach Holgorsen expressed his own excitement for the week, as well as pointing out the want for everyone to be participating in Homecoming festivities. “It will be a fantastic atmosphere this weekend. I know our fan base is going to be enthusiastic. Stripe the stadium has always turned out good, so it’s going to be sold out. I commend our students who have picked up 12,000 tickets. We need that place to be rowdy.”
As Hologorsen said, Homecoming and Stripe the Stadium are a fantastic atmosphere to be a part of and it certainly helps to set the stage for a big game.
The Mountaineers saw a little bit of issue with special teams during the BYU game and Coach Holgorsen was well aware of that struggle. “We’re going to change some schemes things. We’re going to focus on it and make it an emphasis, and it’s not just kickoff team, its kickoff return team as well. We’re going to change some people . . . Our goal is to not get beat on special teams, and that’s a huge goal this week. All the above, schemes, coaching, emphasis, personnel, effort, technique, you can say it’s everything, and that’s kickoff and kickoff return.”
Coach Holgorsen also pointed out the importance of special teams in years past during this match-up. “What’s been the difference in the games in the last couple of years against their guys have been special teams. We make 90 percent of our practice time here in the next couple of days and just focus on special teams. I don’t want to sit up here and just say I’ve been disappointed in what we’ve done. I thought our special teams have been very solid the first two games.”
Coach Holgorsen recognizes that Kansas State “has been a thorn in our side” over the last few years, and points out that his team is prepared for Coach Snyder and the Wildcats. Coach Snyder is a very well-known and respected Hall of Fame coach, so it is widely known that Coach Snyder always has something up his sleeve. The trick to that is for Holgorsen and the Mountaineers to come out strong and fast Saturday afternoon. Coach Holgorsen said in his conference that this will be the Mountaineers’ biggest challenge yet.
Coach Holgorsen made it known that the Wildcats are very stout defensively, as they are the number one defense in the country. “We have our work cut out to us on defense. What BYU did to us with the big line and the gritty quarterback, the big back, the tight ends and fullbacks that we didn’t handle it as well as we have in the past. We have a big week in order to get better and I know we will.”
Overall, the coach sounds prepared for the challenge ahead. As this season has progressed, Coach Holgorsen has done an excellent job of focusing on the week’s opponent and not looked too far ahead. Coach Holgorsen has made each week’s opponent “the biggest challenge we’ve faced” and it is a good way to not overthink the season or get too wrapped up in future conference play.
Coach Holgorsen and the Mountaineers look to snap this four-year streak of losing to the Wildcats, so much so as it’s not even being discussed with the players, as Coach Holgorsen feels ” . . . you guys [The Media] will handle that for us.”
Hopefully with the growing momentum of being 3-0 and improving every game, the Mountaineers will have another victory on their record Saturday evening. It’s Homecoming and everyone wants this victory just a little bit more than the last.