Five Questions: West Virginia

West Virginia insider Kevin Kinder, publisher of BlueGoldNews.com, provides the inside scoop on the Mountaineers prior to this week's Big 12 matchup with Texas Tech.

1) West Virginia is 3-2, but the losses came against blue-bloods Alabama and Oklahoma. What's the mood around the team and fanbase? Are people excited or not about the start?

Kinder: For the most part, things are upbeat. Even though both Bama and Boomer lost this past week, they are quality teams, and most Mountaineer fans realize that West Virginia played pretty well, but just came up short in those contests. This week is a critical one for the rest of the year outlook. From this vantage point, Texas Tech is much better than its record and play have shown so far, but a loss to a team below it in the conference standings would send the fanbase into a tailspin.

2) Clint Trickett looks like a vastly improved player behind center this season. Is it simply getting more acclimated to the system and what is his biggest strength?

Kinder: Health is the #1 reason. A year ago, Trickett was only truly healthy for the Oklahoma State game, and he threw for 300+ yards and helped engineer an upset win. After that, a torn labrum and the effect of some big hits left him barely able to throw the ball. Experience in the system has helped him, of course, but helath has been the key factor. His biggest strength right now is his decision-making. He has made very few bad reads, and has just four interceptions through five games.

3) Is Dana Holgorsen on the hot-seat and if so is there a certain win total or expectation he needs to meet to remain there after the season?

Kinder: No. Had WVU lost to Maryland or Kansas, then the heat might have been rising, but at this point he is fully safe. There is no required win total -- Athletic Director Oliver Luck said over the offseason that he wanted to see improvement, which can be in the eye of the beholder. However, no one watching the season-ending debacle of 2013 would argue that West Virginia isn't much improved this year, so barring another collapse, Holgorsen is on solid ground. If a bowl bid is secured, the heat index is at zero.

4) Do you feel there is any type of revenge factor for West Virginia heading into Saturday after Tech upset the Mountaineers in 2012 and then made the second-half comeback last season? Or is it just another Big 12 game for the Mountaineers?

Kinder: Not really, and that's no disrespect to Tech. In fact, there are probably a lot of similarities between the fanbases which helps keep the animosity low, and there weren't really any controversial elements or hard feelings in either of those games. Tech just played better and won them both.

5) Kevin White is the leading receiver in the Big 12 and has looked unstoppable at times this year. What's the book on him? What has made him so successful so far this season?

Kinder: His biggest improvement is that he's using his body much better., He's bigger, taller and stronger than most of the DBs he faces, he's learned how to screen them away from the ball, and he's attacking it at its highest point, rather than waiting for it to come to him. Like most junior college players, that first year was filled with simply learning how to play at this level. He showed flashes of potential last year, and this year he is putting it all together.



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