Tuesday afternoon Coach Holgorsen addressed the media following Saturday night’s home loss to Oklahoma. As everyone knows, the Mountaineers were handed their second loss of the season Saturday in a 56-28 snowy night game in Morgantown. Now, Coach Holgorsen has new goals for his team; finishing the regular season out with two wins. First up; Iowa State this weekend and the head coach has to be prepared for anything in Ames.
Coach Holgorsen is preparing his team to achieve what we have yet to see the Mountaineers do since joining the Big 12. “Have a chance to get to our ninth win on Saturday. That hasn’t happened since we joined the Big 12. We have a chance to get to our sixth Big 12 win, that hasn’t happened since we joined the Big 12, and then we have another game after that.” It goes without saying that the Mountaineers and their fans would love to see this team finish out their best season since switching conferences, and the head coach is focused on achieving this.
Coach Holgorsen is aware that anything can happen in Ames, Iowa and he is preparing his team for just that. “They’re going to have a lot to play for as well, so we better strap it on and have a great week of practice. We better prepare like we have all year. This is a great week for football. If you’re playing football on Thanksgiving, then you’re fortunate. We have very minimal distractions this week that we’ll be able to focus hard on our opponent and get ourselves ready to play. It’s going to be a challenge. You look at their schedule they started slow, but about game four once they played Baylor these guys have been in every game.” While this is a 3-8 team, the Mountaineers need to prepare for a fight as the coach said, this could very well be a tough game for his team.
Coach Holgorsen always speaks about being prepared on all three sides of the ball and this week is no different. “Offensively, they move the ball, they score points, averaging over 400 yards a game and 28 points, so it’s a completely different team from what they had last year. They were very senior-oriented last year. They have one of the best receivers in the Big 12 . . .” Coming off of the Oklahoma loss, the Mountaineers defense needs to be prepared for Iowa State’s offense, as Coach Holgorsen also pointed out their wide receiver Allan Lazard as being one of the league’s best, and the Cyclones’s two-quarterback system operating well this season.
“Defensively, their secondary is kind of what stands out to me more than anything. They have recently been playing a ton of man coverage, and they do a good job of it. Ever since Baylor rushed for a lot of yards they started adding people in the box and when you do that you have to make a decision on what kind of coverage that you’re going to play, so they’re going to add people in the box.”
With this week being Thanksgiving, football players do not get the luxury of having a week-long vacation like their fellow students, so the team will be celebrating the holiday together. “We’ll celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday with our football family, which typically involves a lot of the coaches and the coaches’ families and all of that stuff. We do that, we’ve done it the same way for the last five years. Then we’ll bring them up here Friday morning, then we’ll travel like it’s a normal Saturday game.”
As discussed, Iowa State has been a notoriously difficult place for teams, but Coach Holgorsen seems ready for his team to go in and take care of business Saturday. “When we went there four years ago, that is the coldest that I have ever been. If you remember what that game was like, it was like eight degrees with a wind chill of minus 80. It was cold. I grew up in that state and it hasn’t ever been that cold. Two years ago it was alright, this Saturday it will be alright. It was pretty cold last Saturday there from what I have heard and the wind blows. I don’t know, I can only speak for our team. I don’t know, it is a hard place to play. They are rowdy. Their in-game entertainment is pretty good, those kids play hard there.”
Coach Holgorsen continues to prepare his team for each week’s challenge and this Thanksgiving week is no different. As the Mountaineers have suffered their second loss of the season, we hope the team uses that as momentum to go into a rowdy crowd at Iowa State and take home their ninth win of the season.