THE NEW VIEW
If you wondered what WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen was doing this past Saturday, well, it was probably the same thing as you – if you’re a sports fan.
“I’m a college football fan, now,” Holgorsen told ESPN radio’s GameDay during the Oklahoma-Iowa State game. “At the end of the day, I like watching football too.
“I don’t usually get to do this. Usually I’ve got too many things to do and too many things going on or too distracted. But I’m going to sit here and be a fan today and if I can pick up a few things about some of the teams we’re going to play, that’s good.”
Holgorsen had the opportunity, of course, because his team’s scheduled game at North Carolina State was canceled because of Hurricane Florence. The Mountaineer coach said he wasn’t involved in the decision, which was announced to the team prior to last Tuesday’s practice.
“I said, ‘OK, I guess we’ll move on to Kansas State at this point,” Holgorsen said.
He later said, though, K-State preparations really would begin this past Sunday.
“Practicing for one opponent for two weeks can go stale on you real quick,” Holgorsen said. “So we just went out and played football and had a good time.”
The Mountaineer coach said he didn’t want his players traveling over last weekend, but he did give them Saturday off. And that window allowed for the nice blast of national attention via the GameDay appearance. He got in plugs for WVU – as well as quarterback Will Grier. The interview lasted almost 10 minutes.
“Will is just a good quality person,” Holgorsen said of his QB. “He’s a coach’s kid. He loves the game. His story is very well-documented. He’s here with his wife. Actually, he’s here in my basement [on Saturday] with a couple of the other players just hanging out. He’s watching college football. His wife Jeanne is here too.
“Just loves the game of football. Loves family and friends and being a good teammate. Loves playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”
So far, Grier’s Heisman Trophy chase is going well. The senior is No. 4 nationally in passing yards a game, averaging 380.5 yards. His completion percentage is No. 3 at 76.7 percent.
“I’ve got a soft spot for coach’s kids,” Holgorsen told the national audience. “Me and his dad Chad are good friends, always have been. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a high school football coach in the Charleston, South Carolina, area – my thoughts and prayers go out to them.
“Just like that type of kid. My son, Logan, is a senior in high school here in Morgantown. He’s a part of the crew as well. He had a game [Friday] night. I think there’s about 20 of my players around. [David] Sills and all those guys get along. It’s a pretty special relationship going on here right now.”
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WVU moved to No. 12 in the Associated Press poll and No. 13 in the USA Today coaches’ poll, which feels about right at this point.
And what has to feel good for the Big 12 is the league’s performance over the weekend. Yes, it could have been better had TCU upset Ohio State and Baylor downed Duke.
Yet consider the Big 12’s heretofore bottom-feeder Kansas drubbed Big Ten also-ran Rutgers 55-14; Now-No. 15 Oklahoma State knocked Boise State out of the Top 25, 44-21; Texas Tech defeated standout defensive lineman Ed Oliver and Houston, 63-49; and Texas sort of made up for its loss to Maryland by crushing USC 37-14.
Also, K-State, the Mountaineers’ 3:30 p.m. Saturday opponent, beat UTSA 41-17 and No. 5 Oklahoma got by a stubborn Iowa State. Overall, a very solid weekend for the league.
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- I mentioned Grier was No. 4 in passing yards a game. What’s interesting is the three QBs ahead of him all have “Air Raid” connections as well. No. 1 is Gardner Minshew of Washington State, where coach Mike Leach is in charge. No. 2 is Alan Bowman of Texas Tech, where Kliff Kingsbury is trying to hold onto his job. And No. 3 is Mason Fine of North Texas, where former Tech assistant Seth Littrell leads the Mean Green.
- I always enjoy looking at the Sagarin computer rankings. This week, they spit out Oklahoma at No. 3, Oklahoma State at No. 8, TCU at No. 17 and WVU at No. 23. Marshall was at No. 88.
- Kansas State coach Bill Snyder didn’t give much of an update of strong safety Denzel Goolsby, who sat out the UTSA game, or backup cornerback Kevion McGee, who also didn’t play against the Roadrunners. Goolsby was the Cactus Bowl Defensive MVP versus UCLA.
- And finally…
Holgorsen said on Monday the canceled game against N.C. State “would have added to” the Big 12’s intriguing weekend. He maintained on his league’s conference call, though, the lost game would not hurt his team’s big-picture goals with nine Power 5 games ahead.