The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

September 15, 2011

Reality shows WVU offense is there

Whether it’s been the weather, the slow starts, or just the ability to mask it, West Virginia’s offense is not what it appears to be.

The more concern there seems to be for a perceived lack of production, the more nuggets are uncovered that say the offensive production is there.

After all, WVU is averaging 44.5 points per game and rolling up 412 yards of offense, and that is without a fourth quarter in the Marshall game when WVU seemed about ready to hit a fourth-quarter groove.

Could it be better?

No coach would ever say it couldn’t.

But coach Dana Holgorsen knows the sky isn’t falling, although he, at times, has been as concerned as anyone.

Going into Saturday’s Maryland game (noon, ESPNU) at College Park, Md., Holgorsen threw out another nugget as if to signal that the sky is not actually falling.

“We’ve scored on 70 percent of our drives, which is really high,” Holgorsen said. “We probably won’t maintain that throughout the season. The last three places I’ve been, we never scored on 70 percent of our drives. The expectations are high. I’m guilty of that, as well. Our job as coaches is to make sure that our players understand the expectations and what we’re trying to do.”

The key is to get the players not worrying about expectations but to focus on the job at hand he said.

“I think we have a sense of what’s expected of us,” Holgorsen said. “We tell the coaches and players to not read anything the media writes. There’s a reason for that.

“When we meet as a team, what matters is what we think of ourselves and what our abilities are and become the best team that we can. My expectations are bigger than your expectations. Our players can’t be like that. They need to know what their job is and to get better at it every day.”

Holgorsen said Tuesday that there is more of the playbook yet to be implemented.

“The base is in, but there’s a lot of ways to establish the base,” Holgorsen said. “That’s one thing that we try to do offensively. Defensively, we’re the same way. There’s some front and blitzes and twists and stuff we haven’t shown yet, but that’s a progression of football.”

Too much is not a good thing, the coach said.

“You can’t go into a game with everything or you’ll blow the kids’ minds,” Holgorsen said.

“You try to figure out what you can handle. Once you get a feel for it, then you can start to do some more stuff. The more players we have with familiarity of the system, the more variety we’ll see.”

Defensively, the Mountaineers still have not caused a turnover, which is a concern, Holgorsen said. But the Mountaineers have also not turned the ball over.

“We talk about playing smart a lot, which is turnovers. I don’t think I have ever gone two games without turning the ball over,” the coach said. “Defensively, we are talking about not being able to get turnovers.”

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