The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

September 30, 2011

Expect WVU to make special teams changes

In light of last Saturday’s special teams meltdown against LSU, expect changes when WVU hosts Bowling Green at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will be carried live on ROOT Sports.

“We’ll know more this week based on how they practice,” coach Dana Holgorsen said at his press conference Tuesday. “That’s the only way of fixing that sort of thing. You have to go out and work on it. Our schemes are fine; it has nothing to do with schemes. It has everything to do with trusting the people on those units. That’s one thing we don’t do a great job of right now is trusting the people on those units.”

What a meltdown it was.

The most catastrophic was a 99-yard kickoff return right after WVU had made it 27-21 on Dustin Garrison’s 1-yard run late in the third. WVU had a 14-yard punt. Six of LSU’s punts were downed at or inside the WVU 11.

What can West Virginia do?

“We’re not going to make wholesale changes,” Holgorsen said. “The guys we have are the guys we’ve got. We can only coach them to get better. We’ll work hard on it. We’re not going to hit panic mode.”

That said, defensive backs Pat Miller, Keith Tandy and Eain Smith could be moved onto some of the special teams units.

———

A lot of people noticed that several LSU players appeared to suffer injuries in Saturday night’s game.

WVU noticed too.

Quarterback Geno Smith flat said it.

“We didn’t play as fast as we wanted to,” Smith said. “Part of that was LSU kind of faking injuries and doing things to slow down our tempo.”

Several other players said they heard coaches instructing players to go down in order to slow down an offense that put up 533 yards.

Holgorsen didn’t really elaborate on the situation.

I don’t know if that happened on Saturday night or not,” Holgorsen said. “ They do exist in college football. That’s not any of my business; there’s nothing I can do about it. It depends on the referees and how they manage the game and what they think is going on. I can’t do anything about it. I’m not going to worry about it, and we’re not going to let it destroy our momentum if it is happening. We just have to keep playing the next play.”

———

Holgorsen was asked about scheduling teams like MAC school Bowling Green, which is 3-1.

“I think it’s good. We’ve got a lot of guys from Ohio, and there’s a lot of quality MAC opponents,” Holgorsen said. “These guys have won a bunch of MAC championships. They’ve been to a bunch of bowl games and, over the past 10 years, have won a lot of games against automatic qualifying members. This is a quality opponent. This isn’t a fill-in game. This is a quality opponent.”

Plus, there isn’t a whole lot Holgorsen could do.

 “Scheduling is done so far in advance,” he said. “This thing has been scheduled for quite some time. There’s only one opening in the next five years or so.”

— E-mail: demorrison@register-herald.com

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