WVU notebook: Holgorsen expects similar effort
College Football Videos
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — OK, we get it. No moral victories. But West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was more than a little positive talking about Saturday's 33-23 loss to No. 2 Alabama that left Mountaineers fans feeling encouraged that last season's misery won't repeat and 'Bama fans ready to tear down Nick Saban's statue.
“The biggest things from last week that we were happy with on all three sides of the ball are the excitement level to play the game was off the charts,” Holgorsen said Tuesday. “Our energy through the course of the game was at an all-time high. The effort was exactly what we wanted.
“I told them Sunday, they set the standard, they set the bar for how they need to play all year. If we can get those guys to play with that kind of effort, with that kind of energy and that kind of excitement, then we're gonna have a good year.”
Holgorsen added: There's a lot of things we need to correct, as everybody does in Game 1. There's a lot of assignment stuff, there's a lot of technique stuff, but the thing that stood out which is a positive, is how we played. Not necessarily what the result was, there's lots of things we need to work on, but how we played, and if we can play like that all year, then we'll win a bunch of games.”
WVU was 5 of 14 (1 of 7 in the second half) on third-down conversions, Alabama nine of 16. Timing also hurt the Mountaineers. Their only three-plays-and-outs came on successive fourth quarter possessions when they still had a chance to win.
On both drives, WVU tried (and failed) running on second-and-7 even though the ground game had been grounded in the second half. Jordan Thompson's dropped pass killed one of the third-down tries.
“We had some dropped balls on third downs. Those are critical situations,” Holgorsen said. “There were two or three times I should have called better plays. Two or three third downs that (defensive coordinator Tony) Gibson would have liked to have called something different. We're not pointing one finger or another, but those things kind of stand out.”
Nowhere to run
WVU running backs gained 53 yards in the first half, 37 by Rushel Shell. That was astronomical compared to the second half, when the backs rushed for all of 5 yards.
“We came out and played nasty,” Holgorsen said of his offensive line. “We had, like, seven knockdowns, and we were taking some of those guys and driving them into the ground. Second half, they got challenged a little. We didn't have that production in the second half. ... Some of it has to do with (Alabama) getting off blocks, making plays. They did a better job than in the first half.”
Bob Cohn is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.