By Cam Huffman
After some time to digest the 73-42 pounding Baylor put on his team Saturday night in Waco, Texas, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgosen wasn’t as disgruntled as most would have probably believed Monday when he fielded questions from reporters on the weekly Big 12 teleconference.
The third-year head coach didn’t hide the fact that the 3-3 overall record and 1-2 Big 12 mark wasn’t what he was expecting from his team at the halfway point, but he didn’t pull a Charlie Weis and call his team “a pile of crap,” either.
As WVU enters a bye week and prepares for the second half of the season, Holgorsen is still a believer in the Mountaineers.
“I think we’re still close to being a good football team,” said WVU’s third-year head coach. “We didn’t play as good as we had hoped. Baylor was prepared. They were fresh, they were fast and they were energized. The way we played against Oklahoma State (in a 31-20 upset Sept. 28 in Morgantown) — I thought we played at a high level — we didn’t get that out of them on Saturday. I think Baylor had a lot to do with that.
“They had revenge on their minds,” he continued, referring back to the 70-63 WVU victory last year in Morgantown in the Mountaineers’ first-ever Big 12 contest. “They didn’t like what happened last year. They’re a dang good football team. They’re better on all three sides of the ball. I’d like to think it’s a combination of us being worn out — that’s not an excuse, at all — but us being worn out and Baylor being pretty (darn) good.”
The Bears’ numbers through a 4-0 start are off the charts. Baylor leads the country in total offense at 779.5 yards per game, almost 150 yards better than Oregon, which is No. 2 in total offense. The Bears are averaging 70.5 points per game, 11 points better than the Ducks. Through four games, Baylor’s offense has yet to have a single three-and-out.
“Offensively speaking, they played fast,” said Holgorsen. “They’ve got tremendous, tremendous speed — better speed than I thought, and I knew they had good speed. The biggest difference I see with them is the physicalness they’re playing with up front, offensively and defensively, as well. Their defensive line established the line of scrimmage as well as their offensive line did. That’s the biggest difference I see.
“The difference from this year to last year is they did it both years. This year, we weren’t able to keep up, offensively. We knew that going in. We don’t have the experience or the weapons to get into a track meet with a team like Baylor. They’re doing it at the highest level possible. They’re doing it as good as anybody in college football ever has. We’ll see if they can keep it up.”
Holgorsen said he feels good about what first-year defensive coordinator Keith Patterson has done with that unit, despite taking a step back against the Bears, and he said Joe DeForest’s special teams are getting better every week. That allows the offensive-minded coach to put his full attention toward finding a way to start moving the chains and putting some points on the board.
“We’ve just got to keep plugging away,” he said.
WVU’s next chance at showing some improvement will come on Saturday, Oct. 19, when No. 20 Texas Tech (5-0) makes a visit to Morgantown. That game, it was announced Monday, will kick off at noon and be televised by Fox Sports 1.
The Red Raiders will be at Kansas on Saturday.
— E-mail: chuffman@
register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.