WVU Not Focused on Big 12 Yet

Spring practice may be over after Saturday's Gold-Blue spring game, but WVU coach Dana Holgorsen again insisted Monday that the program's transition to the Big 12 Conference won't truly begin until well after the season has started.

"I've been asked this question four or five times. I guess I'm giving the wrong answer," Holgorsen said dryly when asked if the move would start to matter now. "But going through spring ball -- and we've always been like this -- we were more worried about ourselves.

"There were a lot of things we're going to have to do before we line up and play a Big 12 schedule, there's no question. But I feel like we're about 33 percent of where we're going to be prior to the Marshall game. We've got another 28 practices where we can worry about ourselves, and then we'll worry about beating three nonconference opponents before we get into those games. There's a lot of subtle things happening with who the coaches are, how we practice, what the schemes are. But the specifics on who our opponents are, what they do, we'll get into that more when the season starts."

While the Big 12-specific Xs and Os don't yet matter much to West Virginia's second-year head coach, the general buzz surrounding the move does, he said.

So how has the shift been received by those in and around Morgantown and the Mountaineer community?

"I can tell you there's a whole bunch more [buzz] than there was a year ago," Holgorsen said. "These fans are educated. They're used to winning. The administration is educated and used to winning. Our players have been in big games in the past. They've been in BCS games and played nonconference opponents from the SEC. So they understand what they're getting into without us having to beat them over the head with it. I think everybody understands what it is and how big of a challenge it's going to be and what we've got to do to be able to compete."

And, perhaps more importantly, the head coach indicated that recruits in WVU's traditional territories have also been receptive to the idea of playing football in the Big 12.

"The one thing about the Big 12, which everybody understands, it's a little more of a national scope," Holgorsen said. "Being in the southwest, having the TV coverage, having the big-time BCS games everybody has been to, playing for national championships, which Texas and Oklahoma have done, it's a national scale.

"It goes from the west coast to the east coast. A lot of people on the east coast, because they're so media savvy, they understand that. They're anxious about seeing games played out there on the west coast. I'm not sure that existed in the Big East."

Those concerns, though, were more about the future, Holgorsen stressed. West Virginia's immediate past involved the spring practices that just were completed, and the next items on the agenda for the program involve recruiting and an summer's worth of strength and conditioning sessions.

Looking back on what was just accomplished, the coach seemed pleased with the way the team found depth at a few positions during spring practice, which he said is the most important aspect of the 15 workouts.

"During a game week, you're only focusing on the 15 guys on each side that are playing," Holgorsen said. "During the spring game, we lined up with about 80 guys that took snaps.

"It's just developing depth. That's what I think everybody's goal is throughout the nation: to try to get kids who can give you some snaps. More than getting your starters better, it's about developing guys who can play, whether it's on special teams or as good quality backups."

BlueGoldNews Top Stories