Finding a Winning Formula

During Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen was asked what needs to happen to get his program on the right track and back to winning games.

The third-year head coach began his answer by talking about all of the challenges of making the transition from the Big East Conference into the Big 12 and the challenge that everyone involved knew would come with that.

"The overall state of the program would take a long time to discuss," Holgorsen said as he finished that answer.

West Virginia lost its third-straight game by way of a 35-12 defeat to Kansas State Saturday. The Mountaineers have scored less than 25 points in four of their eight games this season and they're averaging 22.9 points per game, which is better than only Kansas among Big 12 teams.

In the passing game, which has been Holgorsen's specialty throughout his coaching career, WVU is averaging less than 250 yards per game through the air and has a passing efficiency of 112.

"It's been challenging," Holgorsen said. "I've never dealt with it before. I've never dealt with this many guys that are new. You've got new people at every single spot."

The Mountaineers haven't had three-game losing streaks in back-to-back seasons since the 2003 and 2004 seasons and WVU's offense hasn't scored less points per game than it has up to this point in the season since 2001, Rich Rodriguez's 3-8 season in his first year as head coach.

Holgorsen did expect some bumps in the road along the way this season, with nine starters leaving and bringing in three new coaches on the offensive staff.

"You got a coaching staff that continues to learn how to coach together and game plan together and call plays and react together," he said. "I've been very pleased with how our coaching staff has bonded and been united and worked together. Then again, it's still a lot of unknowns – three guys on the offense that haven't coached this offense before."

Until the Mountaineers can figure out how to get on track, they can continue to having trouble winning games. At 3-5 this season, West Virginia has four games left and three wins needed to become eligible for a bowl game.

"Is it winning offensive football? No, it is not winning offensive football. It hasn't been all year," Holgorsen said. "I take full responsibility for that. We need to continue to coach them hard, which they are.

"Our players need to continue to allow themselves to be coached, which they are. We need to continue to develop young guys and recruit guys that can come in and play winning football out there on the field."

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