Despite his team falling on hard times, after suffering defeats at the hands of TCU, Texas and Kansas State to drop the Mountaineers to 6-5 after starting the year 6-2, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen doesn’t see much of a chance that his team will press too much as it closes the regular season.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t win – it’s been three losses in a row right here,” Holgorsen said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “Effort has never been the problem (with this WVU team). Our guys played excited in the third and fourth quarters, our guys played with effort.
“We didn’t quit and we’re not going to quit. This team likes to play ball and this team loves to compete. They’re going to continue to do it for the rest of the year.”
One reason Holgorsen is not worried about an even bigger disappointment this weekend against a 2-8 Iowa State team is that there is a big difference in this team’s leadership compared to the Mountaineer teams that struggled the last few years. West Virginia has a large group of upperclassmen who have been through hard times like this in the past, and now they have a better understanding of what to do when things get tough.
This week, as it has the rest of the season, WVU is looking to those leaders to help get prepared to bounce back against the Cyclones.
“It definitely helps to have a lot of players and a lot of older guys, juniors and seniors, who have been in the program and that understand the importance of doing it each and every week,” Holgorsen said. “We’re looking forward to what I think will probably be our best week of practice this week, and putting ourselves into position to win, and finishing the season with a win and then heading into the bowl game with a little bit of momentum.”
During the teleconference, Holgorsen was asked a variety of questions, including one about the Mountaineers’ deep stable of running backs and whether or not the talent level at the position is getting better at the high school level – which would provide reasoning to more talented college back.
Currently, West Virginia has five solid running backs it has been using all season, with true freshman Dontae Thomas-Williams redshirting this season.
“Everybody is starting to run t he ball a little bit more. That, obviously and probably, will trickle down into the high school ranks as well,” Holgorsen said. “High schools have always put their best players at running back, that’s probably not going to change. The commitment to what we’re doing offensively and what I see a lot of other teams across the country doing offensively is the commitment to sticking with the run, couple with a lot of running quarterbacks that are able to do some things to open up the holes.”