By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen thinks Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) is one of the best teams in the conference as the Mountaineers visit the Red Raiders for a game Saturday.
WVU (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) is a 3 1/2-point favorite to extend its winning streak to 10, dating back to last year. The Mountaineers are ranked No. 5.
Holgorsen said of the Red Raiders: “They’re very tricky. They’re very, very sound, and are never out of position. They blitz eight percent of the time.
“They’re not a gimmick defense.
They’re a sound, effective defense. They play hard, and their guys always are in position.”
He said that poses problems when guys don’t know what they’re going to do and that aggravates you from a gameplan standpoint.
Texas Tech’s defense is ranked No. 2 statistically in the nation.
“We can come up with a bunch of plays, but it’s hard to execute against them,” Holgorsen pointed out. “I’ve only gone against (Tech coach Tommy Tuberville) once, so I can only go on what I see on film this year.”
And what he claims to see is that they play hard, sound defense.
“They’re not used to giving up many points and yards,” he continued. “Offensively, they’re going to tempo you, run the ball, and get the ball in space.”
Asked whether the Big 12 schedule takes a physical or mental toll, Holgorsen replied:
“From a coach’s standpoint, you have to have a routine and these guys have to understand what’s at stake.
“You have to have seniors that understand it and can handle it. I think we have a bunch of seniors who can handle it. The game is physical; every game you play is physical.
“You need to try to stay healthy to keep your body in shape by going to treatment, eating well, lifting well, recover and sleep at night.
“From a mental standpoint, you need to stay focused. You need to handle all of your business away from here, but when you come in here at 2:30 p.m., you have to be focused and ready to go.”
Holgorsen said players must create a sense of urgency while creating energy on the sideline during games on the road.