With two games remaining on the schedule before the Mountaineers begin bowl prep, its safe to say the bye week couldn’t have came at a better time for the West Virginia football team.
The Mountaineers sit at 6-4 overall with Kansas State and Iowa State left to play.
West Virginia head football coach Dana Holgorsen says the team will use the time to rest up, give the young players more time for one-on-one work and will continue to develop depth.
“We will practice today and tomorrow – a lot of developmental – an opportunity for a lot of the younger guys to be able to get a lot of work,” Holgorsen said. ” We’ve had great developmental practices every Thursday for the last 10 weeks. This will give those guys an opportunity to really be coached in drills, and that’s going to be huge heading into the bowl prep.”
The break comes at a good time for the bulk of the starters who have seen a ton of reps through the first eight games of the season. Holgorsen says they won’t be doing much other than being on the field and in pads, and will not be doing any hitting.
“We’ve got five offensive linemen who have played about 900 snaps. We’ve got a linebacker and three safeties in Kwiatkoski, Karl, KJ and Dravon that have all played about 800 snaps. The snaps are starting to pile up for everybody else across the country, too.” he said.
“But those guys, Kevin and Mario have played a lot of snaps. Cody Clay has played a lot of snaps. Those guys will have an opportunity to be able to rest up.” Holgorsen said.
The Mountaineer staff will use the bye week to give guys time to relax and get individual work, while the staff is hitting the recruiting trail this week to see recruits on the board.
“On Thursday and Friday, coaches will be out on the road recruiting,” Holgorsen said. “That obviously will continue to happen. That never goes away. You need to be able to get and see guys as much as you possibly can.”
The head ball coach wasn’t happy with his team’s performance against Texas, but the group is ready to put it in the past and focus on Kansas State, who invades Morgantown next Thursday, a game televised on Fox Sports 1 at 7pm.
Holgorsen says his team will get back to work on Saturday and have a team lift and run on Sunday before the attention turns to the Wildcats.
“The mindset that this team has done a good job with is with effort, energy, excitement, flying around, having fun and playing the game existing in the first nine games.”
Holgorsen and his Mountaineers still have a lot to play for in 2014. West Virginia can still finish 8-4, which is a long way from where most experts had the team when they entered the season.
But to his credit, Holgorsen has seen improvement over the season and expects that to continue as they head towards 2015.
“I see improvement,” Holgorsen said. ” I think we’re going to continue to improve. I think a year from now that you’re going to be looking at a team that’s even better than what we’ve got right now”
While the future looks bright at West Virginia, the Mountaineers are focused on one thing.