Edit Slot to 247Sports Home Slot to West Virginia Mountaineers Newsletter Slot to West Virginia Links Dana Holgorsen returns to his home state Saturday, and hes looking forward to a night game. No. 6 West Virginia is one of 11 remaining unbeaten teams in the FBS, so that combined with the ranking means his team is made for television. But are the Mountaineers ready for primetime?
WVU (5-0, 3-0 Big 12) visits Iowa State (2-3, 1-2) for a 7 p.m. game at Jack Trice Stadium, where the home team has dropped 18 of 20 games to ranked teams and is 1-12 against ranked visitors since the Big 12 expanded to welcome TCU and WVU in 2012. The Mountaineers may want to get used to this. They play the following game at home on a Thursday night against Baylor and finish the season at home on a Friday night against Oklahoma. Some combination of games in between at No. 9 Texas, at home against TCU and at Oklahoma State could be at night, too.
Big 12 Teleconference: Three things David Beaty said on MondayYeah, you know, were all on the road recruiting right now. Weve got an off week that were dealing with. So its one of those deals where weve obviously looked at the tape. Weve evaluated it. But were continuing to do that this week. The good news is that we have several guys that can do it, that can do it at a high level. So well look at it this week and therell still be competition like there always is. But I thought both of the guys did some good things. Theres some things that we can do to help them out. Were going to do that as we move forward.
The head coach, his coordinators and a selection of their players met with reporters on Tuesday. Here is what they had to say.
Refs Hit Saints With Excessive Celebration Penalty Following Drew Breess Record-Setting Touchdown PassDrew Brees came into Monday nights home game against Washington needing 201 yards to break Peyton Mannings career passing yardage record of 71,940* yards. He couldve dinked and dunked his way to the record, but fuck that—in the second quarter, with his team already up 20–6, Brees unloaded a long ball down the right sideline to TreQuan Smith. Break it in style!
“Critical, without a doubt. We ran the ball against them last year. I don’t remember the number exactly, but I was happy with how we ran the ball against them last year. They give us favorable boxes, but they do a really nice job of filling gaps from second- and third-level defenders, which usually means that you can get 5, but getting 8 to 10 is hard. You have to be patient with that, and I thought that we did an outstanding job last year being patient with running the ball. Last week, we did the same thing. I thought we did a good job of running the ball until we got into the red zone and then we didn’t do a good job at that.”
“It just adds more depth, and you can start practicing these guys more in certain positions. When you get into Joe being out, now you have to take Jacob Buccigrossi and have him play some guard and get center reps when youre stealing reps at center for him. Now you’re starting to gain more depth, and we can work more bodies and let them get good at their craft for that week. We’ve always been opposed to having these guys work multiple positions throughout the course of a week, but that’s what we were forced to do the past couple of weeks.”
“It’s really effective. They do a great job. Theyre great athletes, so they get out of the backfield and catch the ball really well. It’s another level to our offense. We want to be multiple, and that adds something to it. We trust those guys to not only run the ball between the tackles but to also get out in space and make plays. I’m really happy with where that group is at as a whole.”
“I cant say theres ever been a play when I specifically wanted to come out. You play through that and push through it. I kind of look at it as you train eight months out of the year. Why go through all of that training and stress on your body to not play in a game on Saturday?”
The Chiefs keep dragging teams into shootouts only the Chiefs can win – SBNation.comIts now been five opponents up and five opponents down for the Kansas City Chiefs to start the 2018 season. The latest victims to get steamrolled by the offensive juggernaut were the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that was in the AFC Championship a year ago and entered Sunday with the fewest points allowed in the NFL.
“I cant give a specific grade. I would just say we still have work to be done. We still have a lot of things we can do to be a better team. We play good as a team. Thats what works well. The offense needs to boost up the defense a little bit more. I think thats what has to happen.”
“How hard he runs. How hard he hits the hole. Hes very quick with his decisions. When he plants his foot down, he likes to go straight forward. Thats a good thing for him right now and why hes effective.”
“The one thing that you notice about Iowa State is that they’re very well-coached, they are very disciplined and they don’t create a lot of stupid penalties. I like coaching against these guys, just because they’re really good coaches. They have good schemes. This is a lot better than some of the stuff we see in our league, actually. It’s real football, and it’s refreshing to see at times.”
“When they brought it out to show us what it was and they introduced it, it was like, Miamis got the chain. Boiste State has the throne. Well, weve got the turnover hat. Weve got a light on it, so I had to click that bad boy on and see it. I felt like I was entitled to the light. But it felt real good to wear that.”
“I think its the bond of the defense. Everybody wants to do something to help the team. Honestly, everybodys trying to find a place and find a role, and when people need to step up, they step up and do what they need to help the defense.”
“Instinct took over. I didnt really think about, This is my first one. It just happened. But it was good for me. I was ready for my next one in the same game. It boosted my confidence even more.”
“Iowa States a very disciplined, very tough team. We know what to expect from them just like they know what to expect from us. We expect it to be a dog fight. But if we come in and do our job, everything will be good.”
MORGANTOWN, W.Va — West Virginias offensive line will be bolstered by a reinforcement this week.
Junior right guard Joe Brown is cleared to return to practice after missing the last two games with a neck injury. Coach Dana Holgorsen is hopeful to get Brown back into the starting lineup to provide stability at the lone question mark remaining for WVUs offense.
He got cleared [Monday]. He can practice [Tuesday], Holgorsen said on his Monday night radio show. So well see how that looks.
Holgorsen is raring to get Brown back into the lineup after some inconsistent play from replacements Chase Behrndt, Isaiah Hardy and Jacob Buccigrossi. His goal, if possible, remains to play Hardy in just one more game this season so the senior can return for a redshirt season in 2019.
Isaiah can be a very good player a year from now, Holgorsen said. Were just running out of time with him. He was our next-best option at guard this weekend.
The offensive line surrendered a season-high five sacks against Kansas, but Holgorsen said overall it was an average performance from the unit.
Weve got two really good tackles, Holgorsen said. [Left guard] Josh Sills continues to develop. Two centers that continue to play better. And we need to settle in at one of our guards.
Holgorsen said there is one area where he does want to see the group improve — run-blocking in the red zone.
Ive got some run-blocking issues Ive got to sort out in the red zone, Holgorsen said. We had some disappointing run-game production in the red zone. We have to get some of that straightened out.
Each West Virginia player wears a GPS tracker during games that monitors several vital statistics. One of the most interesting revelations from the Kansas game, if not the entire season, was Will Griers top speed when he chased down Jayhawks defensive back Hasan Defense after a 60-yard interception return.
Grier was nearly in rarified air. The Mountaineers 22 mph club is only inhabited by the likes of Gary Jennings, Marcus Simms and JoVanni Stewart. And for one play on Saturday, Grier had all of them beat.
Grier was a little surprised by his own speed, which he credited to West Virginia’s strength and conditioning staff.
“I usually only have to run in about 10-yard increments, so I’ve never really hit top speeds,” Grier said. “But I wasn’t going to let him score, so that’s how fast I had to run… hopefully next time I hit that speed, I’ll be running in a touchdown or something. I’ll like that a little more than the situation was.”
Holgorsen remains unconvinced that the fake punt executed by the Jayhawks on Saturday was actually legal.
The play caught just about everybody unawares, including West Virginia and ESPN cameramen filming the game. Kansas lined up nine players on the far side of the field, with the long snapper and punter lined up alone. K.U.s John Wirtel tossed the ball diagonally, rather than through his legs, to the player who rushed for the first down.
Holgorsen thought there were two problems with the play. First, he felt WVU didnt have the opportunity to substitute properly. And then there was the snap itself.
Its got to be one motion, said Holgorsen, who maintains Wirtel didnt snap in one motion. It doesnt have to be between your legs. But what you cant do is pick it up and throw it. Its clear as day.
Holgorsen said the officials on the field disagreed with how he saw it, and that he submitted the play to the league office for further explanation.
Holgorsen is a fan of how Reese Donahue and the team handled the defensive end’s postgame marriage proposal to Sarah Moore. Donahue made sure Holgorsen was OK with the idea beforehand, and fellow lineman Ezekiel Rose turned it into a team activity by forming the Mountaineers in a circle around the happy couple.
Of course, it wouldnt have worked so well had the Mountaineers lost. But Holgorsen thought it was clear teammates wanted to make sure Donahues plan was executed properly.
Any extra motivation we can come up with to win, Im all for, Holgorsen said. If it takes a proposal every week, sure.