WVU coach looks for more energy from team
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has talked about it all season: Play with more energy and effort than your opponent.
It hasn't been so easy for the Mountaineers.
"Very few teams can line up and have just that much more talent and, regardless of what kind of effort they play with, can win the game," Holgorsen said. "We're obviously not one of them. In order to win, we have to play with effort all the time."
So Holgorsen decided he's only going to take the guys who are ready to play with that effort. Even if it means only taking 50 or 55 players to Cincinnati this weekend.
"We're going to take who wants to win," Holgorsen said. "We're going to take who wants to pull for his teammates and who wants to be all in on this thing, not guys that pout and mope because they're not playing or any of the rest of it."
West Virginia usually travels with 65 to 70 players, but that could change this week. After each loss this season, Holgorsen has cited less energy and effort from his team.
In Cincinnati on Saturday, he only wants players who are ready, and junior quarterback Geno Smith agrees with Holgorsen.
"We don't show effort every single snap," Smith said. "That's part of the learning process, learning that you have to play hard and play every team as tough as you can because every team's going to play you as tough as they can."
Holgorsen said part of the problem is some players are showing up and expecting to win because of West Virginia's recent success. The Mountaineers 60-17 over the past six season, and it hasn't finished lower than second in the Big East since 2002.
But parity is the norm in college football, Holgorsen said.
"It happens every week," Holgorsen said. "The latest is Northwestern going into Nebraska and beating them. Who would have put their money on Northwestern• Pat Fitzgerald is a heck of a football coach, but that's the reality of college football right now.
"The teams that are able to withstand that are the teams that win championships."
It's the lack of energy and effort in games against Syracuse and Louisville that have West Virginia on the outside looking in on the Big East championship picture.
Holgorsen said this is a time when the leaders need to take control and make sure teammates are doing what they need to do.
"People who want to be here work to be here and deserve to be here," senior Bruce Irvin said. "People who are just here to take advantage of what WVU can bring for them, I think we need to weed them out of the program because they're bringing the program down."
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