Tuesday afternoon brought another one of Coach Holgorsen’s weekly media addresses. Coach’s addresses are always a more enjoyable moment following a victory. With the Mountaineers having beat Missouri Saturday, Coach Holgorsen spoke with the media with the hope of continuing on a win streak this coming weekend.
Coach Holgorsen started out his conversation by expressing his love for the general atmosphere of Saturday’s victory in Morgantown. ” . . .what an opening Saturday, just across the country. Wonderful game after wonderful game. We had a pretty good one in Morgantown with a good quality opponent, a great atmosphere. I want to give a shout out to our fan base for being there and being loud and it looking good. Just a wonderful Saturday for college football here in Morgantown, West Virginia, and I was obviously pleased with the way it turned out.”
Holgorsen quickly moved on to the job at hand, this week’s game versus Youngstown State Penguins. Coach Holgorsen points out that the FCS team is not someone to take lightly as the program is a winning program, “It’s a winning tradition. They’ve won four national championships. They’ve had lots and lots of good players and lots of wins.”
Holgorsen also pointed out the Penguins defense and how their coach (Bo Pelini) ” . . . is widely regarded as one of the best defensive coaches in the country.” Coach Holgorsen recognizes that Youngstown State is a good team, with a slower offense than what the Mountaineers faced versus Missouri. “They’re going to be in a lot of tight ends and full backs and huddle a lot and slow the thing down.”
When talking about the Mountaineers special teams, the head coach was practically singing praises for all that went on during the season opener. “I don’t have any negatives, whatsoever. There’s a couple of communication issues that we have to get sorted out, just because (assistant coach (defense/special teams) coach (Mark) Scott and the other guys that communicate, the communication needs to exist.”
Coach Holgorsen has always been a man to speak his mind, good or bad, so it is always a positive moment when the coach speaks so highly of his team and how they performed. Coach Holgorsen sounds optimistic in his team’s preparations, but is at the same time not too over-confident about going against an FCS team this weekend. “Where FCS teams get in trouble is when the second teamers go in there over the course of the game. We have to be really, really, really on guard with that because our opportunities aren’t going to be great. They’re not going to come in here and do what Missouri did and try to run 100 plays and have 15-16 possessions.”
If there had to be a “negative” side to the coach’s media address, it would be the concern of the backup quarterbacks and scoring in the red zone. Coach Holgorsen pointed out where the team can improve in red zone scoring, picking up the pace and being more aggressive in a sense. “We have to execute better. There were two times where I was slow getting the call in that affected the execution of the play. I have to get the call in a little bit quicker, especially when we sub personnel, huddle up and we get the play call. Our sense of urgency needs to be a little higher right there, and we have to complete balls.”
Coach Holgorsen also touched on how the backup quarterbacks had a taste of reality when Skyler Howard got injured toward the end of the first half. “They need to be more ready. They need to be on the sideline, engaged, ready to go with their helmets on, and if I said get in, they need to get in there and know exactly what I want. I think they learned, and I think they’ll get better because of that.”
Overall, Coach Holgorsen was positive and optimistic coming off of the team’s first win of the season. The Mountaineers have a chance to win their second game this weekend versus Youngstown State. If the Mountaineers win this week, they go into a neutral-site game against BYU after a bye week. If the Mountaineers and Coach Holgorsen play their cards right, West Virginia could be going into an October stretch of games undefeated.
If Coach Holgorsen can be cautiously optimistic, then I guess the rest of us can.