Head coach Dana Holgorsen began his press conference Tuesday afternoon by giving the media an update on what the rest of this week’s schedule will be like for the Mountaineers:
Practice Tuesday and Wednesday followed by a heavy day on Thursday with strength coach Mike Joseph. Thursday and Friday coaches will get out on the road and recruit. “Gotta take advantage of the days we are allotted to be able to go out and do that,” Holgorsen said.
It is back to work on Saturday starting with lifting, then practice Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday travel to Texas and Thursday is game day.
Dana Holgorsen updated the media about Terrell Chestnut, “He is day-to-day. He tries hard, and he has had a shoulder injury for quite some time now. He actually had it before this game, and he tried to play through it, but he was just to sore.”
Holgorsen said they have had four hard back to back games and rest will do them all some good and wants to use this week to get everyone as healthy as they possibly can. “Sunday is important to see where everybody is at.”
Other injuries to look out for include: Offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste is banged up and will rest up all week along with offensive lineman Tyler Orlosky who could barely walk out there.
As for Wendell Smallwood, “…Specific guys question why we are not using him very much. I can assure you we would use him as much as we possibly can. He hasn’t practiced a day in the last two weeks and gets out there and gives everything he’s got for the team,” Holgorsen said.
Holgorsen believes he will know better where injuries stand next Monday.
The most difficult part for Dana on developing the young quarterbacks throughout the course of the season is only being able to rep one quarterback (Skyler Howard). “We have been doing some different things with (red-shirt freshman) William (Crest) to give him the ball. That has worked out good, and we will continue to explore options when it comes to him and what he can do.”
He continued to talk about how that third-team quarterback has always been hard to rep. “Everywhere I have been, there has been minimal reps for a third-string quarterback. There is just not enough time to get those reps.”
Dana expressed he’s impressed with freshman quarterback Chris Chugunov. “Chugs has been that guy that is smart, and he is in tune with what we are doing. If we need him to go out there and play, then we will. If not, then we will utilize his red-shirt, and we will start to give him reps in January.”
The media questioned the bounce back that Skyler Howard had from the Oklahoma State game to the Baylor game. “I thought he attacked the week really good. He ignored what the outside was saying, and he used that to motivate him. He studied the game plan hard.”
Holgorsen thought that it was good for Howard that he got to see his family since he is from Fort Worth. “He was around a lot of people that believed in him and patted him on the back. They told him they loved him and all of that stuff. I think that was good for him. He was motivated to play.”
“He knew what we were asking him to do. He took a bunch of deep breaths, and he went out there and played football. It was probably the main reason I ran a quarterback draw on the first play. I was hoping he would get the crap knocked out of him to release the tension and anxiety, which I think is good for him. I think he played well. The clock is still a little bit too fast. That has something to do with our o-line needing to a better job of protecting, ” Holgorsen finished.
Another new face the Mountaineers saw on the field last week was Ka’Raun White. “We just need more bodies to play. Ka’Raun is new,” Holgorsen said. “He is starting to settle in and understand what we are asking him to do. He’s working hard, and he had the best week of practice last week.”
Baylor’s deep wide receiver core is something that Holgorsen wants to develop. “We have a bunch of first-year receivers or second-year receivers that we are going to be talking about for a long time… How quick we can get there, I don’t know. I know number one is getting really close for us (red-shirt sophomore Shelton Gibson).”
“We have to get the other guys to continue to develop and mature. They have to make a bunch of plays to make a difference in the game. We are not there yet, but we are going to get there pretty quick.”
All-American Josh Lambert has made a game winning 54 yard field goal, but he has been struggling this season. Dana Holgorsen took some time to talk about his kicker. “He’s had a rough go of it. He had an injury in camp… that has kept him from full speed kicking until the week before the first game. He has been playing catch-up, and then he has been under the weather here the last couple weeks. He is fighting hard. He is trying. He has the right mentality. It’s just the physical nature of what has to exist, and that’s just not there right now. The good news is that it’s not a goofy kicker thing. He’s trying, and we all believe in him. He has to get healthy, and he is not quite there now.”
There is a possibility of using this bye week to install some new plays. “Yeah. We are going to put in the wishbone, do some Wing-T things. We run the quarterback so much anyways that we are going to start pitching it left and right.”
Improvement is key for the Mountaineers for the rest of the season. “Again, offensively it is about improvement,” coach Holgorsen said. “We have a system that we believe in, and we have players that we believe in. We have coaches that we believe in. We are just going to keep getting better at it. It’s the only approach. I don’t think what we are doing is the problem. I think we need to keep doing it to the point where it becomes second nature, and we are better at it.”
The Mountaineers take on #4 TCU in Fort Worth, Texas Thursday on FS1 @7:30 p.m.