The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

September 1, 2011

Holgorsen always makes it interesting

MORGANTOWN — If nothing else, Dana Holgorsen is an interesting cat. Refreshing might be a better word.

Hearing him talk about the varying position matchups and how they related to the Mountaineers depth chart during fall camp was not only interesting; it was comical.

Once, when asked about the oft-injured Brad Starks, Holgorsen replied of the red jersey-wearing (non-contact) receiver, “He’s getting good at riding the (stationary) bike.”

I believe that was the last time anyone asked about Starks.

Then there was the time he was asked about new backup QBs Ian Loy and Kentucky transfer Mike Burchett.

“They’re both right-handed, but that’s all I can tell you,” he said.

Dude named Dana, unlike many coaches, gives good answers to questions and doesn’t give you an hour’s worth of noise without saying anything.

On his Big East Conference call Monday, he was asked by a Tulsa writer why he doesn’t use a paper playbook.

“It all stems back to Hal (Mumme) and Mike (Leach) and those guys just having a good idea of what they’re doing,” Holgorsen said.

“When we were at Texas Tech, Mike hired myself, Bill Bedenbaugh and Robert (Gillespie) — guys who all knew the system as well. I guess the thought process on it is that we don’t want people staring at a piece of paper.

“We want them to understand it based on watching film, seeing how it’s done right, seeing how it’s done wrong, and then going out there and trial-and-error it on your own. And then watching yourself do it, and if it’s wrong, you make adjustments. We put together a few mini-playbook things that are always on video, it’s never on paper. It makes more sense to us.”

He is always a bit colorful if you like football talk.

Like when he talked about true freshman Andrew Buie’s recruitment.

“He was the most challenging guy to close on,” Holgorsen said. “(Running backs coach Robert) Gillespie did a great job of getting to know the family and the kid. He had him ready to go until all the rumors about Robert going to Florida started. Robert did a great job of staying on the phone with him. It was fun to watch Robert de-recruit for a little while because of all the pain and agony he put him through.

“Whenever we got him here and started making plays, we forgave him. He has a chance to be a good player, but so does (Dustin) Garrison, Vernard (Roberts) and Trey (Johnson). All four of them have some ability to make some things happen. You have to have them in a live situation to see how they can handle the crowd and the live action. He looks good, but we need to get them in a game.”

He admitted he has tried to step away from the offense a bit, which led to the following quote:

“I don’t get into the offensive huddle,” Holgorsen said. “Offensively, I stay as far away as I can. I don’t want Geno to have the comfort of asking me a question in the huddle. Defensively, I get in there because I don’t know what the heck they are talking about anyway. They can be talking about a call, and I don’t know what it means. I just get in there and mess around with them a little bit, whether it is encouraging them or giving them crap. That is part of getting to know them a little bit better.”

He was asked midway through camp what he calls his high-octane offense.

“I have been asked that a bunch of times,” Holgorsen said. “I don’t know what you would call it — offense, I guess. I don’t have a phrase. I don’t have a name for it. Here is the plays, here is how we practice, here is what we do it, let’s go get better. There is probably a little more to it than that.”

I don’t know what kind of record WVU will have. I would assume it better not be 9-4 the next three years.

But it sure will be interesting covering Holgorsen.

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

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