Coach Dana Holgorsen met with the media Wednesday afternoon as the football team is just days into fall practice. As everyone can tell by now, Holgorsen is settled in both his life in Morgantown and his role as head coach of the Mountaineers. That sense of settled is evident in the manner the coach handles the media, as well as in the way he continues to show his love of the program.
Coach Holgorsen started off his media session pointing out how pleased he is with midway through the first week of fall practice.
“Everything’s good. The attitude is good, the energy is good, the intensity was good yesterday.”
The head coach made it known that the team would be going full force Thursday and Friday of this week, and then several more times this coming week.
Holgorsen was asked about leaders on the team and what made a leader. It is in his response that the head coach’s strong sense of what it means to be a Mountaineer and what it means to be the coach of the Mountaineers.
“Being here for a long time and understanding how the program works. Understanding, just everything,” he said. “The Mountaineer football, all of those sayings in the back, the last one is a Mountaineer mentality, understanding what it means to be a Mountaineer. Understanding what it means to the state is important.”
Coach Holgorsen commented on the strength of the leaders he has on this team, pointing to Al Rasheed Benton and Eli Wellman as two of his five-year players who exemplify leadership as Mountaineers.
When asked if leaders can create themselves or if they are natural leaders, the head coach quipped that there are plenty of books written on that subject. Coach Holgorsen then went on to point to the players he brought to Big 12 media days, two of which were Justin Crawford and Kyzir White, and the leadership they exude to the team and others.
“They lead by example, but they are not scared to open their mouth and say something as well,” he said. “Those four guys, probably the main reason they were at media day is that they lead this team.”
Coach Holgorsen also spoke about the team’s defense and how athletic of a group they are, pointing out.
“I am excited with how those guys look and how they are acting and how they are running around.”
Coach Holgorsen spoke the praises of the defense and their ability to bounce back after eight key players graduated after last season.
Over the last several seasons, Coach Holgorsen has really come to embrace what it means to be a Mountaineer and has excelled at showing his pride of the program. The head coach continues to show that pride and instill those beliefs in his new players.
“We go through the core values of the program, which is everything from what is expected of them to do to what the traditions are, to the history of the state of West Virginia is. Every aspect of what these guys need to know. We as coaches explain it to them in the offseason. Like right now, we are explaining it to them every afternoon at 3:30, I have a coach get up and cover a little area of the program. Then I get a player up that has been here, that covers a little bit of what it means to them as far as what the core values are, what the traditions are and all of that. It is fun to watch that and see the kids get up. We don’t randomly pick them. We get guys that have been here get up and talk about what it means to them.”
It goes without saying that Coach Holgorsen is making a large emphasis on the players learning, respecting and appreciating Mountaineer football of years past.
Holgorsen was also asked about what can now be described as a broken record of topics for the team, that being quarterback Will Grier. The head coach was asked if Grier was further along than other quarterbacks from sitting out a year.
“He is kind of itching to get out there and throw it around and play. I’m like, ‘Just relax, you have some time here to soak it all in and learn it.’ Now Will understands everything; he understands the team, he understand the offense. He is in a good place.”
Holgorsen made it clear that Grier has spent the last year learning and soaking up the program, now more that ready to done the old gold and blue on Saturdays and show everyone what he can do.
Just days into the start of the fall, and Coach Holgorsen does not seem to have any evident concerns or stresses. The head coach is calm and collected, exuding a strength and a confidence in his team, his coaches and what they intend to accomplish this season. If things work out for the good guys, hopefully fans, the team and Coach Holgorsen alike will be carrying that confidence all season long.