Better Position

Let's flashback to Oct. 29, 2010. It was probably one of those nights West Virginia fans want nothing to do with anymore. But, I bring it up to prove a point.

I wrote this last year after West Virginia lost 16-13 in overtime to Connecticut:

"The West Virginia football program has fallen out of the national spotlight. And, it's in danger of falling right off the map.

In a time of so much unknown with conference realignment and BCS talk, it's really the worst time to mess around."

I continued …

"The glory period of Stewart's interim head coaching victory might just be gone. Fans, and more importantly donors, are starting to tire of the "jut your jaw," "bow you back," "respect all fear none" talk.

They'd rather see wins.

WVU can't keep falling, or it will get too deep to come back up."

Following that loss to the Huskies in East Hartford, Conn., it was obvious that WVU's program wasn't going to get much better under then-head coach Bill Stewart.

The Mountaineers fell all the way to last place in the Big East after that loss, and UConn, who had been the worst team in the conference prior to that point, got a jolt of confidence that sent the Huskies to the BCS.

I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes at that time, as Athletic Director Oliver Luck was beginning to plot Stewart and offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen's eventual departure.

WVU, of course, ended up recovering and salvaging the season to share the Big East title and go to the Champs Sports Bowl.

But, it got pretty ugly after the end of the regular season with the moves that Luck ended up making.

Flip the switch to this week – a week before the Mountaineers' 2011 game vs. Connecticut.

It's a lot brighter around here these days.

Now-head coach Dana Holgorsen has been a better CEO-type of leader than I thought. He may not know much about coaching the defensive side of the ball, but he has definitely made the effort, and done so successfully I will add, to connect with those players.

He's also an offensive genius.

Not only that, but the former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator has truly made an awkward and tense transition into something much better than what West Virginia had before.

There wasn't much hope around these parts a year ago. There simply wasn't a lot of confidence in Stewart or the West Virginia football program in 2010.

I'd say that's about the biggest change with Holgorsen.

Even though he's just 4-1 at West Virginia, I feel like this program is on the way back up.

The rankings prove that, but it's not all about that. There's just a feeling of confidence back in the Puskar Center that I haven't seen in a while.

Even when the Mountaineers are down early, I don't fret. When Maryland was charging back or when LSU had a double-digit lead early I thought WVU would be fine.

And, sure, the Tigers ended up winning. But, West Virginia could've easily given up, too. It didn't. It won't under Holgorsen.

West Virginia will continue to improve … and that way I'll never, ever have to write what I did last October again while Holgorsen's in charge.


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