Holgorsen talks WVU bye week, Travis Bell

After four weeks in which it played two of the best teams in college football, the West Virginia football team is getting a bye week at about the right time.

Following a 45-33 loss to Oklahoma Saturday night, head coach Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers have set their sights set on a matchup against Kansas in two weeks and will hit the ground running this week.

"It will be important to work during the bye week," Holgorsen said during Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference.

As they tend to do during bye weeks, the West Virginia coaching staff will spend a lot of time early in the week working with the younger players on the roster and giving them a chance to take reps and develop more. The staff will then leave for recruiting on Friday and Saturday before returning back to Morgantown to get back into the normal game week routine to prepare for the Jayhawks.

With West Virginia moving into the bulk of its Big 12 schedule now, it will be able to take some things from the challenges it has had early on against the likes of Alabama and Oklahoma. And it will be able to build on the things it did well, while improving the things it has struggled with as it takes on a Jayhawk team that has struggled mightily in recent years - while also having a chance at avenging last year's loss to KU in Lawrence.

Kansas hasn't won a road game since 2009 and has not beaten a Big 12 away from home since beating Iowa State in 2008. The Jayhawks will come to Morgantown in two weeks having lost 25 consecutive away games.

"In both games (against Alabama and Oklahoma), our guys were disappointed that we were not able to finish the game," Holgorsen said. "We were in a good spot in both of those games at halftime. We came out and competed but weren't able to sustain that for four quarters. Give Alabama and Oklahoma credit for having the depth and the physicality where they can just continue to play at that level for four quarters. Time will tell. There's an awful lot of football ahead of us and it's still early in the season and we need to continue to improve in all areas.

"We will continue to work hard to get ourselves in position to go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the country, and hopefully win some of those games in the future."

Through the first four games of the season, the West Virginia defense is No. 81 in total defense, allowing 404 yards per game, and the 28.8 points per game the Mountaineers allow is good for No. 88 nationally. Meanwhile, the offense comes in ranking near the top in a lot of statistical categories. Led by Clint Trickett's 1,600 passing yards, WVU is No. 5 in passing offense and No. 10 in total offense, while also ranking in the top 40 nationally by scoring an average of 37.5 points per game.

Holgorsen also addressed the absence of senior cornerback Travis Bell, who missed Saturday's game against Oklahoma.

"He took a week off. I will see where he's at probably today or tomorrow," Holgorsen said, adding later that it was "a good question" when asked whether or not Bell was still on the team.

The fifth-year senior was suspended during spring practice, but had met the criteria needed to be reinstated on the team before the start of the season.

After the Oklahoma game, defensive coordinator Tony Gibson declined to comment on Bell's status.

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