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Coach Dana Holgorsen met the West Virginia media Tuesday afternoon as the football team prepares to travel to Fort Worth coming off their bye week. TCU and West Virginia both joined the Big 12 at the same time, and their matchups tend to bring quite a bit of attention every year, especially with the presence of ESPN’s College Gameday a second time. Coach Holgorsen is excited for this week’s game and what it will bring to the team, hopefully a road game victory.
“TCU is always a fun one. I just think if you look at the similarities in the two programs, it builds a lot of interest in this game,” Holgorsen said. “Winning as many games as both West Virginia did and TCU did in their respective conferences prior to the Big 12, both won a ton of games in Group of Five conferences and were always in the BCS discussion and all that good stuff.”
Coach Holgorsen essentially dove into what the Mountaineers will go against on Saturday afternoon, singing the praises of Gary Patterson and what he has done for the Horned Frog’s football program. The Mountaineers head coach pointed out that their opponent’s defense knows what it is doing and and is as good as they’ve ever been.
“They’re deep; their front is always good. They rarely have to out-number you in the box, which is a different type situation than what we’re usually used to. They just do a really good job of just coaching their guys up with technique and them playing with high motors and doing a great job of getting off blocks,” Holgorsen remarked. “They’re as sure of tacklers as we’re going to see out there. And their coverages, they read routes better than anybody. They’re going to know exactly what positons they’re going to have to be in and they’re rarely out of position. So, they’re as good as they’ve always been defensively and their stats show that.”
The head coach of the Mountaineers was not quite sure what his team would be facing in terms of the Horned Frog’s offense prior to preparing for this week’s game. Holgorsen remarks that the offense will be a huge test for Tony Gibson’s defense, and that TCU’s offense has a great depth to it.
“They’re running the ball extremely well; they have about four different guys that they can hand it to, their (offensive) line is big and doing a great job in covering people up, and then I can’t tell the difference really in about 10-12 of their receivers. They have a bunch of guys that are making plays. None of them have huge, huge stats because they’re playing everybody, they have a lot of depth,” Holgorsen pointed out. “They have 10 guys that look the same and they’re all capable of making plays and are all capable of doing great things as well, which they have – all year they have. So, it’s a huge test.”
Every week the head coach delivers some sort of sly remark, or his version of joke, which is often well-received. After opening his press conference going over the Horned Frog’s offense and defense, the coach opened the floor for questions with one of his weekly quips.
“So, huge test for us; we’re excited about it. They’re deserving of their top-10 ranking, I think they’re eighth or whatever. They’re deserving of GameDay going there and giving them a whole bunch of publicity. We’re excited about getting there and seeing what happens,” Holgorsen said. “Questions? That was pretty informative so there should be zero questions, so you guys have a great day and we better go practice.”
Coach Holgorsen was asked by the media about his offensive line and the number of players he’s comfortable playing on that line. Holgorsen pointed out that this could be an area for improvement for his team as the season progresses.
“We’ve successfully played six. I need to see more out of other people that you may or may not be talking about. I don’t know who else you’re talking about; there’s a couple of them that are first-year players and I’ve never had (offensive) line guys that are worth a crap at all as first-year players. It becomes a concern, it’s something that we focus on,” Holgorsen said. “I’m very happy with (redshirt freshman offensive lineman) Josh Sills and how he’s played as a redshirt freshman. That’s rare. So, we have to keep playing guys to see.”
One of the last questions Holgorsen answered Tuesday afternoon was how many games it would take to see just how good his team is. The Mountaineers are coming off their bye week, and starting their stretch of eight straight football games. Coach Holgorsen is excited and optimistic for the trajectory of his team going into this stretch; knowing that Saturday’s test will be telling for the remainder of the season.
“If you ask everybody, they’d probably all give you a different answer. I did an interview about 20 minutes ago that said that they thought it was three. “What kind of team do you have?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” It seems like a year-and-a-half ago that we played Virginia Tech at this point. I’m anxious to get out there and find out; I’m also anxious about eight straight weeks of the same thing, eight challenging games moving ahead for us,” Holgorsen said. “We’ll probably have a little better of an idea this weekend. It may take us 10 games to figure it out – I certainly hope not. I do think this team will keep getting better. I’ve said it a good bit – we have a lot of older guys but not a lot of experience. The older guys will continue to get better based on experience. Hopefully, we’ll be playing our best football going into Week 13. That’d be nice.”