Holgorsen Takeaways: Frustrated By Loss, Optimistic For Saturday
Coach Dana Holgorsen addressed the media Tuesday afternoon, where he was frustrated by Sunday’s loss but ready to move toward Saturday’s home opener.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen addressed the media Tuesday afternoon on the heels of Sunday night’s down-to-wire loss against rival Virginia Tech. The Mountaineers, coaches and fans were not surprisingly disappointed in the outcome of the game, but Holgorsen is using the short five and a half day turnaround to get his team on track to victory.
“I told our guys to not put their heads down. We’re a good football team; Virginia Tech is a good football team. It came down to the last play; they made the play, we didn’t,” Holgorsen said. “That’s unfortunate, but what are we going to do about it? We’re not going to hang our heads, we’re going to go back home and get started.”
Despite the frustrating loss, the head coach has that in his rear view mirror and is looking on toward Saturday’s home opener versus East Carolina University. East Carolina is yet another familiar foe for the team’s non-conference play, having last faced off against West Virginia in 2009 when the good guys won 35-20. Coach Holgorsen is already familiar with the Pirates, back when they were under the leadership of Skip Holtz and Holgorsen was at Houston. The head coach cautioned the media on the team’s abilities against big schools.
“We had some wars back in 2008 and 2009, which is about the same time that West Virginia was playing East Carolina and had some wars with East Carolina,” Holgorsen said. “They’ve been known to take out Power Five schools left and right as we well know. It happened at West Virginia, I believe, back in 2008.”
Coach Holgorsen also cautioned those present and listening to not easily dismiss East Carolina’s season opening loss, pointing out what a good team James Madison really is, and that they could beat any major team they played. Needless to say, the head coach is not going to take East Carolina lightly come Saturday.
“They’ve always had good return guys, so it’s going to be a challenge. We’re excited about being at home, it’s a Gold Rush,” remarked Holgorsen. “Defensively, they have some really good-looking guys running around everywhere. They lost quite a bit off last year’s team, so they’re replacing some guys . . . If you look at what they do offensively, they brought in a quarterback from Duke that took over for them in the second half, and I think they figured out what their identity is. They started throwing the ball all over the place, almost 35 passing attempts in one half. That’s quite a bit.”
Holgorsen pointed out how vital to the first two games of the week the team’s analysts are, allowing them to be ready to prepare for East Carolina on such a quick turnaround week.
“This would have been hard to do without them. Coaches sit there and claim that they stay up all night and watch film all night. That gets kind of impossible,” Holgorsen said. “If you don’t sleep, then you’re going to fall out of it at some point. So, when we came in yesterday morning, there was a notebook about this big that had everything written down”
Sunday night was the first game Holgorsen did not call the plays, and he found himself at a loss for what to do during the start of the game.
“I didn’t know what to do for the first quarter. I was looking for people to talk to. This is a true story, it’s funny. I’m literally talking to myself because the worst thing you can do is click over to the offense and start talking,” Holgorsen said. “I’m sitting there and talking to myself for the whole first quarter. I was just like, “This sucks.” So I went over and yelled at (Ryan) Dorchester to just go to the empty line so I had someone to talk to.”
A loss such as Sunday’s is frustrating to everyone, Holgorsen included, but the head coach seems to be handling the loss in a way where he can learn from it and expound upon it come Saturday.
“We knew they had some skill kids that could do some good stuff and they did. It played out the way I thought it would. It was an evenly-matched game with a great experience and great atmosphere,” Holgorsen remarked. “We had a chance to win there at the end and just didn’t get it done.”
Finally, marking what may be the peak of frustration, Coach Holgorsen addressed the penalty he was given Sunday night. For many, this penalty was one frustration on a pile of penalites, plays and the overall loss of the game.
“I stepped out of the box and did one of these deals. Three of them looked at me and didn’t do anything and one guy that was all the way down there came running in and threw it at me. I don’t know what his problem is, but evidently I did something to p*** him off. He can throw it if he wants,” Holgorsen said. “I didn’t do anything. How do you get a warning if you don’t do anything?”
Overall, while the Mountaineers were handed a victory, and it not going their way is a frustrating fact, the head coach still maintains optimism and focuses on the next match-up. On to East Carolina, on to the first home game of the season.