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Holgorsen settles in as West Virginia coach

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By Tony Dobies
Saturday, June 18, 2011

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Dana Holgorsen spent the early part of his first week as head coach at West Virginia skydiving over the New River Gorge with a U.S. Army parachute team and bass fishing on a secluded lake in southern West Virginia.

It's understandable the former coach-in-waiting needed a few days away from his office at Milan Puskar Stadium. The football program had been surrounded by distractions for weeks before Bill Stewart resigned June 10 and Holgorsen, the team's offensive coordinator, was elevated to head coach.

"It was very calm. There were no houses; there was no traffic; there was no motor boats, so there was some peaceful time that I could sit back and reflect on what's going on," Holgorsen said of the lake where he fished with donors and friends, including men's basketball coach Bob Huggins.

The Mountaineers coach addressed the media Friday while wearing in a dark blue polo shirt, a distinct change from Stewart's usual button-down shirt and tie.

"I don't look back and reflect," said Holgorsen, the former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator who was hired by West Virginia in December. "I don't use it to sit here and act like I've made it. It's all about moving forward."

Holgorsen held a team meeting Tuesday and met with the coaching and support staff for the first time yesterday.

Holgorsen said he's ready for the challenge, despite being a bit behind compared to other teams with no offseason turmoil.

"Six months ago when I sat here, I knew what was ahead of me, and I felt very good about it due to the fact that I had a tremendous trust in (athletic director Oliver Luck) and (university president James P. Clements)," Holgorsen said. "I knew it was going to happen eventually. We just expedited the process."

Holgorsen admitted his first task will be to get to know the defensive players better.

"That wasn't my job a week ago," he said. "I know all the offensive guys, met with them and got their phone numbers. ... My job is now to do the same thing with the defensive guys. I've got to get to know them all, understand what makes them tick, where they're from and do a better job at that."

As head coach, he will have to deal more with the day-to-day administrative duties like football camps and schedules, particularly this summer.

In the fall, Holgorsen will continue to be offensive coordinator and call plays. West Virginia is searching for a recruiting coordinator and assistant coach to complete the staff.

Holgorsen made a point to reiterate what he said a week ago: Nothing will change with schemes on offense, defense and special teams.

"There's a little bit more on my plate, and people look at me a little bit different," Holgorsen said. "But that's all stuff that I've been preparing for. I'm completely comfortable with that."

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