By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Chris Nield, a former outstanding West Virginia University nose tackle, was quoted in public print this week that he thinks the Mountaineers’ defensive unit lacks pride.
It ranks 115th among the nation’s 120 Division I-A schools in scoring defense. That unit is giving up an average of 39.9 points per game.
Asked whether he had any comment on Nield’s accusation, coach Dana Holgorsen replied:
“I’m not familiar with what he said. I’m not quite sure who said that and don’t really care.
“But we’ve been telling our players to worry about what we say inside (the locker room) and that’s important and that was when we were 5-0 and ranked in the top 5.”
The Mountaineers (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) will play TCU (5-3, 2-3) at 3 p.m. Saturday at home. West Virginia is a 6 1/2-point favorite.
Nield, who was a captain of the 2010 team, now is playing with the NFL’s Washington Redskins.
Holgorsen said that there were those who told the players how good they were when 5-0 and then how bad they were after two losses.
“So we don’t listen to anybody on the outside,” he continued. “As coaches, we just try to get the team prepared for the next game.
“We had a good week of practice last week (an open date). Made some changes and made some improvements.”
The Mountaineers spent three days last week practicing with focus on fundamentals. They accomplished some things and, hopefully, have gotten better.
“It was good lining up properly on offense and run a series of plays on defense,” he said. “We practiced our young guys a lot.
“Some of the young guys we are playing a lot and some of them we are redshirting.”
He believes the coaches have done a good job working with the freshmen. He also hopes two full days of recruiting were fruitful.
WVU expects each of the remaining regular-season games is going to be tough, as the Mountaineers round out their first year in the Big 12.
He noted that many of the players saw Kansas State win another big game on TV. That was against Texas Tech, which had ended WVU’s nine-game winning streak dating back to last year.
“But we’ve got a lot of guys who want to finish the year strong and want to get to a good bowl game,” Holgorsen stated.
“We’re putting guys in position to make some big plays.”