West Virginia Hits Recruiting Trail, Begins Work On Texas Tech

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - With West Virginia facing its second open week in the first six of the season, head coach Dana Holgorsen said the coaching staff will again focus on recruiting, while the players both begin to hone in on Texas Tech and take their final break away from football before an eight-game stretch.

In wide-ranging comments, Holgorsen addressed everything from offensive line play and injuries, to the status of Josh Lambert. Of note, Holgorsen said Maurice Fleming was cleared to practice after a nagging ankle injury sustained against Youngstown State limited him in the win over Kansas State. Fellow corner Antonio Crawford will spend this week in a limited contact jersey with a shoulder issue before being cleared for full contact. Reserve corner Elijah Battle performed well against the Wildcats, and flexed his solid coverage skills on multiple down field throws, especially later in the contest.

Holgorsen also explained that Lambert, who missed a 30-yard field goal in his initial outing after being suspended for the first three games, remained "rusty" and that Mike Molina had "more pop" on the ball than does Lambert of now. WVU will continue to monitor the kicking game during the open week and into Texas Tech prep. 

Holgorsen called the second open date so early in the season an advantage for the Mountaineers now, which could turn into a disadvantage later when other teams recruit on Dec. 3. But he admitted the developmental aspect of the team would be aided by the two early breaks, that that could be especially true as the corners try to heal before facing the nation's No. 1 passing and scoring offense in Texas Tech. The Red Raiders, 3-1 and 1-0 in the Big 12, play at Kansas State this week in what will be a beneficial film session for WVU's staff. Holgorsen called K-State's defense by far the best West Virginia had played to this point, and noted that was among the reasons for the subpar line play and the low-scoring game.

How the Raiders, who have put up points against mediocre defenses like Arizona State and Kansas, fare in this game will go a long way toward showcasing exactly how good their offense is. West Virginia's defense is allowing just 20 points per game, and ranks fourth in the Big 12 in total yardage after the first five weeks of play. The Mountaineers remain one of just two league unbeatens (Baylor), but have multiple issues in all three phases that need addressed if they are to continue to threaten atop the conference.

WVU's assistants will travel to multiple recruiting spots this weekend, including some in areas threatened to be hit by Hurricane Matthew, a category four storm churning just north of Haiti. Holgorsen said he will address that issue, but also noted that being present at games and continuing to develop relationships with recruiting targets was key.

"I fee like we got some momentum in recruiting right how," he said.

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