Dana Holgorsen didn't mince words when discussing how challenging it can be to prepare to play a full game at the Divison 1 level. It's even tougher when a team has completely overhauled their entire offensive coaching staff and added a new defensive coordinator as well. Missouri has hired former Oklahoma and Utah State Josh Heupel to run the offense and that move has forced the West Virginia coaching staff to watch several different cut ups of offenses that Heupel and his offensive staff have worked with over the past few years. Holgersen detailed the challenge of trying to game plan for such an opponent.
"It sucks," Holgorsen said. "You have to use resources, make phone calls and dig up old film. We watched old Oklahoma film on offense and last year's Utah State film. We watched some TCU stuff because (Demontie) Cross came over from TCU on the defensive side of the ball."
Although Missouri head coach Barry Odom was the defensive coordinator for the last few seasons he hired former TCU defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross, who ran an unconventional 4-2-5 look. Missouri will probably still primarily play a 4-3 defense but it could change the way the back seven play and Cross could incorporate some principles of the 4-2-5 into the defense as well. Those potential changes could change the way the Mountaineers run their offense, but Holgorsen also alluded that the Mountaineers could have some new wrinkles in their game plan as well.
"I have news for Missouri too," Holgorsen said. "What we're doing on all three sides of the ball should probably be a little bit of a guessing game for them, too, based on the fact that we have had eight months to make adjustments and look at our personnel as far as what we have, what we do well and what we feel like we need to do in order to be successful."
Holgorsen also touched on some of the switching out that will occur in the offensive line, praising the effort of Tony Matteo and alluding that Grant Lingafelter and Colton McKivitz will both see significant snaps at guard and tackle respectively. It will be important for the line to stay fresh because they will have their hands full with a talented Missouri pass rush. Holgorsen praised Missouri's defensive line, saying it was one of the best units his team will have faced and he specifically pointed to Charles Harris and said he could potentially be a future top 10 NFL draft selection.
Another piece of news that came out of today's press conference was that Adam Pankey will only serve a one game suspension. Last week Holgorsen said that Pankey would definitely be suspended for Missouri and his suspension would be re-evaluated afterwords. Holgorsen appears to have made a decision as Pankey will rejoin the team next week and play against Youngstown State.
"(Adam) Pankey will serve a one-game suspension," Holgorsen said. "I'm anticipating him being back next week. With that being said I couldn't be happier with his replacement. The truth of the matter is, when Tony (Matteo) got hurt after week one, he was arguably our best guard."