Business as usual as WVU preps for KU

As it comes back from a bye week and goes into another game week, the West Virginia football team finds itself in an interesting scenario as the Mountaineers prepare to host Kansas this weekend.

The Jayhawks fired head coach Charlie Weis Sunday, promoting defensive coordinator Clint Bowen to interim head coach for the remainder of the season following a 23-0 loss to Texas last week. But despite the midseason change, WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said there's nothing different the Mountaineers will be doing heading into Saturday's contest.

"We would have to guess if they were going to make any kind of changes schematically," Holgorsen said Monday during the Big 12 coaches teleconference. "It's a little trickier trying to change things in the middle of the season than you would probably think. We've got the film, we know who their players are, we know what the personnel is. Basically, the coordinators are all intact and will be continuing to do the things they do. We will continue to just attack it like we tried to do last week."

Kansas finished last in the Big 12 Conference during both years Weis led the program, and Saturday's loss to the Longhorns gave Weis a 1-18 mark against conference opponents during his tenure in Lawrence. That one victory came last season against West Virginia, a 31-19 win that was one of the lone bright spots in the Jayhawks' 3-9 campaign.

Both teams enter Saturday's game with 2-2 records, with Kansas picking up early wins against Southeast Missouri State and Central Michigan. The Jayhawks are being outscored 64-3 in games against teams from Power 5 conferences.

"(Weis being fired) really doesn't affect what we're doing. We've got to worry about what we're doing here at West Virginia," Holgorsen said. "The way we prepare is by looking at their personnel, looking at their body of work with what they're doing with X's and O's on all three sides of the ball and that's what we're preparing against."

With the exception of Kansas adding new offensive coordinator John Reagan from Rice, Holgorsen doesn't see many differences between the Kansas team that will be traveling to Morgantown this weekend and the one that beat the Mountaineers toward the end of last season.

The Jayhawks are currently eighth in the Big 12 in total offense, gaining just 359 yards per game, and are around the middle of the pack in most defensive categories among teams in the league. Offensively, Kansas has been led by junior running back De'Andre Mann, who is fourth in the Big 12 in rushing while senior linebacker Ben Heeney is second in the Big 12 with 43 tackles through four games.

"It hasn't changed a whole lot," Holgorsen said. "The personnel is pretty much the same thing it was last year. They've got a lot of guys coming back and the scheme is pretty much intact and that's what we're going to prepare for."

During the bye week, West Virginia took the opportunity to allow some of its younger players to get reps and try to improve in ways they might not during a regular game week as the Mountaineers prepare for opponents. Holgorsen talked positively of freshman running back Donte Thomas-Williams and sophomore quarterback Skyler Howard and mentioned that junior cornerback Jaylon Myers and freshman linebacker Xavier Preston are continuing to improve as well.

"They came back to work Sunday night, and what I noticed from all of those guys is that they had a bunch of energy and were glad to be back," Holgorsen said. "We had probably our most spirited practice this year last night. I like where the team's at."


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