Photo from WVUSports
Back in the spring there was an article about how ‘smug’ WVU head football coach Dana Holgorsen was when he was interviewed about this team. It was like he knew something no one else did.
After the 1st two games this season, It appears Holgorsen had a right to be smug, and maybe he knew a lot more than many others did about this season’s Mountaineers.
Holgorsen’s obvious confidence was very evident after the Alabama and Towson games. What I appreciate most about Holgorsen has been many of his comments:
“White doesn’t want to score touchdowns, he’d rather go down inside the 10!”
“I still have one issue with Trickett and it’s a small one: He needs to get rid of the ball faster.”
After Rushel Shell’s ‘no-fumble’ against Towson, Holgs told him they did not teach that in practice and he needs to hold on to the ball – as per Shell’s interview after the game.
When Holgorsen makes these comments, players and fans need to take them as positives. What this should tell each of us is that the players know the plays. They know their assignments and they know how to read offenses and defenses.
One thing Holgorsen and his coaches are able to do this year that they could not do much of last year, is work on techniques. Last season they were too busy teaching plays.
Now, every week instead of working on plays and schemes, they can work with the players to improve their fundamental techniques at a given position. Each week this year, both the coaches and players effectiveness should improve.
Some of you may be curious as to why I said the coaches can get better. The reason is, the coaches do more than just critique the players, they allow the players to critique them on certain plays, and the coaches as well as the players critique each other.
Players can critique coaches when they get to the side-line and say, “Coach instead of me doing this, what if I do that, for this guy is vulnerable to it?”
This sharing of information is critical to the success of the team. It means the coaches are listening to the players, and though the coaches make the final decision, it makes a player feel good about himself when the coach listens. It also builds his confidence and instills leadership qualities when his suggestion works.
I like the energy this team has played with so far this season. The one thing I take away from these games is that this team is hungry. I both loved and hated it when, I believe Rushel Shell, stated that they wanted payback after last season’s loss to Maryland.
I loved it because I understand what he is saying, it shows he is highly motivated to play hard. I hated that he admitted it to the media, it may end up as Maryland bulletin board material.
Against Towson we heard more linebacker names called than against Alabama for making plays. In the Alabama game, I don’t think I heard the name Isaiah Bruce called at all, but against Towson it was called several times as he pressured the Towson QBs. I loved it!
I heard all the hype about Shaq Riddick, but never heard his name called against Alabama. Then against Towson he gets the sack for the safety.
While I do not recall hearing Dontrill Hyman’s name called in either game, he did make his presence known in both teams’ backfields, including a tackle for loss against Towson. I would like to see and hear more from both Hyman and Riddick.
First year players for WVU that have impressed me so far are: Dravon Henry, Shelton Gibson and Xavier Preston. Gibson needs to work himself into the WR rotation. He has a lot of potential, and you can see this in the way he plays on special teams.
I don’t know what has happened, but two players who appear to have slipped from last season are Darrien Howard and Dreamius Smith. I’m not sure what is going on there.
Last season when Howard’s redshirt was burned, he made his presence known in the games and showed his ability to get off blocks and get into the backfield. I hope these two get their mo-jo back and we see them performing at a higher level.
If this group of coaches and players continue to improve, I beleive they have a shot at going 11-1 this season. So far I see no reason why they can’t.
The players believe in themselves and in each other. They are humble instead of cocky. These players have faith in their coaches and their coaches have faith in them.
One thing is certain, Holgorsen has quietened those who were screaming to get Rich Rod back as head coach!
I am impressed with the job Coach Holgs and his staff have done. Like Holgorsen, I believe WVU will have a winning season. I am impressed with the confidence Holgorsen has in this group of players and coaches. I wish the 2014 Mountaineers nothing but the best.