WVU, Baylor head coaches reunite
• Saturday's game against Baylor isn't just a return to the Big 12 for West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. It's also a reunion of sorts. Holgorsen and Baylor coach Art Briles served as assistants together for three seasons at Texas Tech under current Washington State coach Mike Leach. “Dana is a great coach,” Briles said. “He has done a great job everywhere he has been. He is very passionate, very attentive to detail and very intelligent. I am certainly not surprised at all where he is at right now. I could see it back in 2000.”
• Holgorsen said the biggest difference playing in the Big 12 as opposed to the Big East is the need for more players. Baylor has been averaging 90 snaps per game and defending 87-88 snaps per contest. After playing just 68 offensive snaps and 65 on defense against Maryland, the Mountaineers will need more players to contribute and avoid fatigue.
• Holgorsen expects senior running back Shawne Alston to play Saturday. Alston, suffering from a thigh bruise, missed practice last week and played sparingly against Maryland.
• Against Maryland, senior quarterback Geno Smith, considered the Heisman frontrunner by many, didn't match his early numbers. After hitting 88 percent of his passes and throwing as many touchdowns as incompletions (nine), Smith completed 30 of 43 passes for 338 yards and three TDs. Still, it's all relative. “Completing 70 percent of your passes, three touchdowns and zero interceptions is a pretty good day,” Holgorsen said.
• Baylor players are expecting a hostile crowd in Morgantown, W.Va. Only single-seat tickets remain. “The fans talk a lot of trash, but we zone them out,” Baylor safety K.J. Morton said. “We feel like it's us against the world.”
— Josh Sickles