The Mountaineers are 2-0 going into the bye week and with that brings about a bit more of a relaxed Tuesday conference from Coach Holgorsen. The head coach started the conference off by pointing out the difference in game weeks and bye weeks, “No crowd today. Must not have a big game. So what do you guys want to talk about?” And with that jovial statement, the Mountaineers’ head coach went on to chat about recruiting, referring to Skyler Howard’s best game at West Virginia (spoiler: it was last week) and how to prepare for BYU being 11 days away.
With the Mountaineers coming off their victory over Youngstown State, Coach Holgorsen pointed out how pleased he was in his senior quarterback Skyler Howard. Everyone knew to expect growth from Howard during the off-season and so far, Howard has exceeded expectations. “He continues to impress me just based on the fact that everyone tells him he can’t do it, and he gets out there and he does it. I’m happy with his performance right now.” Coach Holgorsen gave Howard the honor of offensive player of the week for the team.
With Howard in his senior year, Coach Holgorsen will need to start developing the younger quarterbacks, as well as (transfer from the University of Florida) redshirt sophomore Will Grier. For now, Grier is adapting very well to life as a Mountaineer. “We put him in all the meetings and all of the individual stuff, he’s there. We can’t afford to give him practice reps right now, live team reps or any of that, but he’s going to be with us as much as he possibly can. He’s doing a great job.” The head coach also remarked that defensive coordinator Tony Gibson has taken a strong liking to the quarterback; (Associate head coach defensive coordinator/linebackers) (Tony Gibson) “Gibby, he loves Will now. He says I want him with me the whole time, and I was like well you’re not going to get him the whole time.”
Since the coming week is a bye, Coach Holgorsen stressed that he did not want to over-study BYU over the coming week. Coach Holgorsen planned on introducing the team to BYU following his weekly conferene. “I think you can overkill an opponent, you have to be careful about that. We’ll introduce it, and do some BYU work today, but it won’t be a full-fledge Tuesday where the whole thing is BYU.”
With it being a bye week, the coaching staff will use this time to go on some pre-planned recruiting trips. Coach Holgorsen and Coach (Joe) Wickline will head down to Mississippi, where Holgorsen hopes to find some more junior college talents. “I’m going to go to Mississippi on Thursday. Going to try to find another (junior running back) Justin Crawford. We’ll go watch a couple of games, . . . We’ll be hitting several of those games and schools.” Coach Holgorsen also made it known that he has plans to head to East Mississippi Community College and visit Mountaineer, and quarterback coach there, Clint Trickett.
One interesting remark from the coach came when asked about the outcome of the highly controversial Central Michigan-Oklahoma State game. When questioned about the game, the coach said, “I can’t imagine what those guys are going through right now, that’s a tough one. We have never had an ending like that, I have never won on a hail mary or a bad, bad call, I have never lost one either. Let’s keep it that way . . . There has been times where instant replay doesn’t get it right, so what’s the point? You aren’t going to reverse it, I don’t know, I think they probably should.” With the Oklahoma State loss being such a hot topic over the weekend, and surely to continue to be, it is interesting to see Coach Holgorsen’s take on the matter as so many people have been vocal about the outcome.
Coming off the victory, Coach Holgorsen was happy with several players’ performances, while at the same time knowing there is always room for growth and improvement; especially early on in the season. With the bye week it is relatively certain players will get a mix of a little down time, combined with regular practice and an introduction to the next opponent, BYU. BYU plays a similar defense as the Mountaineers and the team will need to bring their best when they face off at FedEx Field on the 24th.
As the season continues, Coach Holgorsen’s weekly conference tone may likely change as outcomes to football games cannot always be victories, but for now, riding the wave of being one of the three undefeated Big 12 teams has a nice sound to it and certainly Coach Holgorsen is enjoying the wins as well.
Featured image courtesy Kelsie Vanderwijst, BGS