The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

April 3, 2011

WVU players like new offense

Holgorson likes effort Mountaineers are displaying in practice

MORGANTOWN — To a man, everyone on the West Virginia offense is excited about the installation of new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorson’s offense.

But it has also gotten the seal of approval of at least one defensive standout.

“It’s a very fast, high-tempo offense,” said defensive end Bruce Irvin, who had 14 sacks last season. “You have to be very conditioned to run it effectively. There seems to be a lot more hype than last year, and the players are enjoying themselves a lot more.”

Irvin said that prepping against the new offense will, in turn, make the defense better.

That’s a pretty fair thumbs up from a guy who will be a key cog in the defense.

But the offensive guys are pretty stoked about the offense, which features a lot more motion than past offenses at West Virginia, as well.

“There’s definitely some buzz out there,” tight end Tyler Urban said. “Anytime you bring in a new offense, there will be a new sense of excitement, and people are going to want to know what’s going on. Everyone is excited about it.”

Quarterback Geno Smith agreed.

“I love the new style of play,” Smith said. “It’s fun to see everyone flying around and making plays. It’s day two, so we’re making mistakes, but we’re making corrections bit by bit, and we’re excited to learn. We’re going hard and working on our game.”

As much as the motion, the number of passes and everything else new about the offense, Holgorson said he is stressing another key to the success of his offense, which has been among the nation’s most explosive at every one of his stops along the way up the coaching ladder.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of offense you run, you need to play physical,” he said. “If you throw it every down, you better know how to play physical. These guys defensively understand that, and we are going to try to accomplish that on the offense.”

So far, Holgorson’s opinion has been so-so.

“A lot of mistakes,” Holgorson said Saturday. “The thing I like more than anything is the tempo and the effort that these guys are playing with. You can’t really tell until you get them out here and actually play, but for the most part, the effort has been really good, and they’re a lot of tough guys.”

Holgorson will become head coach of the Mountaineers after this season. Smith has already praised his efforts, saying he believes the offense is ahead of schedule.

“We’re executing it better than the coaches thought we would be at this time,” Smith said. “We’re just going out there and playing. I’m getting the rhythm down, getting more in shape and I’m feeling better out on the field.”

Smith said Holgorson has been patient as the installation is taking place.

“He’s a very laid-back guy,” Smith said. “When we’re out there, he wants us to execute and put forth our maximum effort. He wants us to go full speed at all times, and I believe that’s what we’re doing.”

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