Sport West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen embraces expectations of pivotal season

19:47  14 june  2018
19:47  14 june  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Dana Holgorsen : "You lie in recruiting a bunch. Later in his statements, which are available on the West Virginia website though it appears the comments about lying were cut out of the video , he added that once Tennis15hr ago. Serena Williams is joyfully embracing ‘Mom Life’ during French Open.

We have high expectations at West Virginia University for success on and off the field and as Coach Holgorsen has acknowledged to me, we are not meeting those expectations on the field. Coach Holgorsen and I met at length and reviewed this past season .

a man wearing a hat talking on a cell phone: Dana Holgorsen© (AP Photo) Dana Holgorsen While many college football coaches tend to avoid talking about preseason expectations for their teams, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has a different approach.

Holgorsen, entering his eighth year in Morgantown, isn't afraid to embrace those expectations ahead of an intriguing year in the Big 12 Conference.

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“I mean, you want people to be talking about you,” Holgorsen told Sporting News on Wednesday. “That means you’ve got something to talk about. There’s been a couple of years here since we’ve been in the Big 12, which is going on our seventh year, there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about because we weren’t ready for that caliber of football. And so we welcome that.”

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After going over the pros and cons of Dana Holgorsen , West Virginia announced Wednesday that it would be retaining its football coach for the 2016 season despite diminishing results, at least on paper.

West Virginia and Dana Holgorsen may need to go their separate ways after the 2018 season , for the good of the program. If that scenario isn’t in the cards, and West Virginia grossly underperforms expectations , Dana is probably on the hot seat anyway.

If any team is equipped to challenge Oklahoma’s three-year reign atop the Big 12, it’s the Mountaineers. They have the league’s most experienced and accomplished quarterback in Will Grier, a pair of dangerous receivers in David Sills and Gary Jennings and some promising newcomers. They also have a fully loaded offensive line, and, finally, some defensive help that Big 12 offenses must account for.

Of course, Holgorsen knows promise and talent can only achieve so much.

He can look back to the 2016 season, when his Mountaineers started the season 6-0 before losing to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to miss a potential Big 12 title. He can look to last year, when Grier suffered a broken finger at Texas, causing WVU's offense to crater in three straight losses to end the season.

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Jump to navigation Jump to search. Dana Carl Holgorsen (born June 21, 1971) is an American football coach and former player. He is the current head football coach at West Virginia University, having succeeded Bill Stewart on June 10, 2011.

But if WVU can navigate a treacherous nonconference schedule that includes Tennessee in Charlotte and at N.C. State two weeks later, Holgorsen’s eighth season with the Mountaineers could be a memorable one.

“The expectations are to win around here,” Holgorsen said. “We are the 12th-winningest program of all time, so our fan base and our administration expects us to compete.

“The other thing is, if you look back at our last three years, going into the Big 12 six years ago, I just didn’t feel like we were ready. We had some top-end talent, but we weren’t ready to compete. The last three years, we’ve been right in the thick of the Big 12 in Game 11, Game 12, and just lost a couple games late to where we weren’t able to win the Big 12.

“I just think this is the best team we’ve had, and I expect our guys to be able to understand the expectations and to be able to do what it takes to once again position ourselves to potentially win the Big 12, but a little bit better.”

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According to Chris Anderson of EerSports.com, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen held a meeting with his staff to clarify some changes in wake of the Mountaineers being outhustled by Oklahoma State.

West Virginia ’ s Magical Realism. Bearing witness to Dana Holgorsen 's maniacal Mountaineer offense. The Mountaineers finally broke through in 1984,6 and then they pounded Penn State in 19887 on their way to an undefeated season under phenomenal quarterback Major Harris before

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It all starts with Grier, the 2013 Parade Magazine Player of the Year in high school who lit up scoreboards and opposing secondaries last season to the tune of 3,490 passing yards and 34 touchdowns. But what makes Grier so formidable on the field, Holgorsen said, is how he has overcome obstacles off it: He was suspended by the NCAA for a positive PED test at Florida, sat out the 2016 season as a transfer and then had to miss the final three games of 2017 with that broken finger.

“There is no doubt about that,” Holgorsen said. “I mean, he’s been groomed to be a starting quarterback his whole life. He’s a coach’s kid that has played a lot of football. There’s always bumps in the road when it comes to life, really, and then there’s always bumps in the road with the game of football. There’s bumps in the road throughout the course of a season, a game or even a drive, and he’s a mature guy that’s seen it all and understands how to responds to all those situations.

“You know, his family life is comforting to me because it grounds kids. Older guys have responsibility at home. That, to me, reduces distractions. It doesn’t promote distractions. There’s a lot of things that happen to college kids in college life that I deem as big distractions, you know, and with him, I don’t see a whole lot of distractions. I see a motivated young man that’s ready to go out there and play the game he loves to play.”

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On Tuesday, Oliver Luck issued a lengthy statement in support of Holgorsen and the plans to bounce back after a 4-8 season . "We have high expectations at West Virginia University for success on and off the field and as Coach Holgorsen has acknowledged to me

Dana Holgorsen has struggled to match the success he found in his first season at West Virginia while in the Big East. Holgorsen ’ s early success: The 44-year-old didn’t help himself with a debut season that sparked lofty expectations .

Grier already has been cast as an All-American candidate, an early Heisman candidate and even a potential top NFL Draft pick. Holgorsen hasn’t predicted anything that extreme, but he doesn't mind calling his quarterback the best in the country.

“Yeah, I haven’t really said that very often in my career, but I do think he is that guy,” Holgorsen said. “I’ve been around a lot of good ones that have performed at a very high level, and I see that type of player in front of me. I see that type of player in Will. But then I see better people around him. I don’t see any weak spots on our offense, and we’re going to be able to do a lot more things that we weren’t able to do last year.”

One factor that should bolster Grier’s senior year and the WVU offense this season comes from the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital no longer is offensive coordinator in name only, last year taking over Holgorsen’s role as playcaller, which should help the offense in 2018.

The Mountaineers will miss graduated running back Justin Crawford, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, but Holgorsen thinks redshirt-freshman Alex Sinkfield will replace him nicely. Also, there are four starters back on the offensive line, including senior All-American candidate Yodny Cajuste and junior All-Big 12 candidate Colton McKivitz.

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The Mountaineers' strongest position on offense could be the receiving corps, led by Jennings, who caught 97 passes for 1,096 yards last season, and Sills, an erstwhile quarterback prodigy who caught 60 passes for 980 yards and a nation-leading 18 touchdowns. Alabama transfer receiver T.J. Simmons should fill nicely the role of graduated Ka’Raun White (61 catches, 1,004 yards, 12 touchdowns).

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Holgorsen says WVU’s recruiting “has gotten better” and he has “some high-caliber recruits waiting in the wings.” The composite rankings of 247Sports agrees: West Virginia’s 2018 class ranked 35th, tying for the program’s second-highest in Holgorsen era. The bottom line, he said, is that “the depth is better, the recruiting is better, and I think overall we’re going to be better.”

Of course, Holgorsen’s defense will always have skeptics. After three years of marked improvement under defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, last year’s unit “took a step back,” ranking dead last in the Big 12 in rushing yards allowed (204.2 yards per game), seventh in scoring defense (31.5 points per game) and eighth in total defense (445.5 yards per game).

Holgorsen flatly said this year’s defense will be better.

“Yeah, because we’ve got some good older kids that are already established,” he said. “My main two guys on that side are (junior linebacker) David Long, which, you can’t block him, and Dravon Henry, who’s a fifth-year senior that has played more snaps than anybody, probably when it’s all said and done, anybody who’s ever played here. You’ve got two really, really, really strong leaders, and then you’ve got better guys around them.”

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Two of those “better guys” are graduate transfers on the defensive line. Kenny Bigelow went from Delaware to USC as a top high school recruit, but suffered two major knee injuries. He all but gave up football last fall, then successfully filed a hardship appeal for a sixth season of eligibility. Jabril Robinson went from a North Carolina prep star to a regular contributor at Clemson.

They will help a defense that looks to become a strength instead of a hindrance in 2018.

"We took a step back last year," Holgorsen said. "The biggest reason why is we did have some turnover, but we replaced those guys with brand new guys. You can’t be successful in this league or in Power 5 football if you’ve got brand new young kids on the D-line, and that’s what we had. So we’ve got some veterans there, then we added some fifth-year guys as well who are physically going to be light years ahead of those younger kids that we had to play with last year.”

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Holgorsen said opening with the Vols in Charlotte and visiting the Wolfpack two weeks later won’t make him change preseason expectations. He and his program are embracing the challenge of playing one of college football’s most demanding nonconference schedules.

“We don’t shy away from that,” Holgorsen said. “We play more Power 5 schools than anybody in college football. ... So it’s going to be challenging, but then, every week in the Big 12 is going to be challenging as well.”

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