WVU coaches hit recruiting trail
Given his choice, Dana Holgorsen would have rather coached his second game of the season this weekend. Instead, West Virginia's football team begins preparations Sunday for its game Saturday against James Madison at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
“I don't think it's ideal. You're going to have a couple off weeks regardless of where you put them. There's nothing we can do about it,'' said Holgorsen, who indicated that the Mountaineers' first of two bye weeks this season is the result of the school joining the Big 12.
After giving his players off last Sunday and Monday, Holgorsen held practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday followed by two days of recruiting.
Among the areas of focus during three days of practice: special teams. The Mountaineers missed an extra point and had a punt blocked in their 69-34 win against Marshall.
“Special teams-wise, the punt team's got some issues that we've got to get taken care of,'' Holgorsen said. “We've got to block a little bit better on punt returns. There's some things that we've identified that we can work on in practice that we can accomplish. It's a little easier if it was a game though.''
On Friday, when the Mountaineers normally prepare for a game the following day, Holgorsen and his coaching staff traveled the country recruiting. Target areas included West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Texas and Florida.
“I think it is huge,'' offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. “Whenever high school kids see you at their game or at their school in the middle of the season, it is important. It just emphasizes that the interest level is high.''
Holgorsen said four coaches traveled to Texas to recruit high school players, and three went to Florida. Assistant coach Steve Dunlap was the only member of WVU's staff who recruited locally and didn't require airplane travel.
“We would've gone out (Labor Day), but it was a holiday,'' Holgorsen said. “When we have an off week later in the year (WVU has a second bye week in late October), we'll go out Monday, and it's all local.''
Holgorsen said the plan was for coaches to attend several games Friday and Saturday in Texas and Florida while selecting one game “and really just watch, evaluate and support.''
Holgorsen's schedule included a Texas visit where he planned to watch his nephew, Clay Holgorsen, a junior quarterback at Katy Taylor High School, play Klein High on Friday night. Brett Holgorsen — Dana's brother and Clay's father — is the offensive coordinator at Katy Taylor.
“Fall is just evaluation. We can't go talk to parents. We can't go talk to the kids. We can basically go to the high school and talk to the high school coaches,'' Holgorsen said.
Holgorsen wanted to watch his nephew play “because that is the only time I can go watch him play is if I count it as an evaluation. I can only go watch my nephew play one time. That's the dumbest rule in the world.”
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.