"I was proud of our effort and our mentality," he said. "If you want to win those games, you've got to make plays when things gets hard, and it got hard in the fourth quarter."
When it was a close game in the fourth quarter and WVU had chances to make a move and seize control of the game, the Mountaineers picked up just two first downs and failed to convert on their four opportunities on third down, as well as a fourth-down try.
But even despite the loss, the fourth-year head coach didn't see too many players down in the dumps Sunday when Holgorsen had what he called earlier this week his most important day coaching this team.
"I was happy with Sunday. We didn't have a bunch of guys hanging their heads or were looking to be patted on the back because we kept it close," Holgorsen said.
"The attitude and energy was good Sunday and after today's off day, we anticipate tomorrow will be the same way."
For the first game of the year, facing a team as deep and talented as Alabama, West Virginia gave the type of performance that will be good to build on as it moves into the rest of its difficult schedule.
If we can play with that kind of mentality the whole year, we'll have a good team," Holgorsen said. "It can turn into confidence and it can turn into a positive if we can get better."