The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

September 13, 2011

History backs up WVU offense

If West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen received a dollar — not that he needs one, but for the sake of making a point here — for every time he uttered the phrase “We’re a work in progress”  he could buy stock in Red Bull.

Shoot, the coach might be able to buy the company.

Fact of the matter is, West Virginia is a work in progress. Which is probably why he has uttered the phrase 752 times since  fall camp started.

But after Saturday’s 55-12 win over Norfolk State — and the dreadful 12-10 deficit that the Mountaineers found themselves in at half-time — you get the feeling that Holgorsen feels the work should have been a little more progressed.

Here’s a fact. And I’m not downplaying the 412 yards per game offense and the 44.5 points per game that West Virginia has put up in the first two games this season. Last year WVU averaged 367 yards and 27.5 points against basically the same competition (Coastal Carolina and Marshall last year) and they played one less quarter this season.

But Holgorsen has a stern belief in his offense.

Why not? The statistics bear it out.

In his first two games at Oklahoma State last year, his team averaged 53 points and 533 yards per game.

At Houston, in 2009, they Cougar averaged 50 and 525, but they also faced Oklahoma State that year.

Holgorsen was not a happy coach Saturday, and not even a second half of 45 points and 390 yards could make him smile.

“We have some guys who can make some plays but we don’t have a lot of offensive rhythem right now,” Holgorsen said. “I’m not pleased with anybody right now. The offensive line, the receivers, the running backs, no matter what it was. Like I said, we have a couple guys who can make a few plays, but we’re not pleased with anybody right now.”

Again, he noted the team wsa a “work in progress.”

On Sunday, he talked about tempo.

“We’re a work in progress,” Holgorsen said. “We may not even get that tempo this year. We are certainly trying as coaches. We are trying as players, our effort is good, but we are not there yet. It just takes time. Some teams get it quicker than others. Some units gel quicker.”

On Monday, he again said “it’s a work in progress” on the Big East Conference Coaches Call.

“I didn’t have any idea where we were going to be,” Holgorsen said. “Each year is different. You’ve got to take what you’ve got, figure out what we’re good at and what we’re not good at. Then it’s about just staying the course and trying to get better each week. If we’re hitting stride this time of the year we would either be a very, very experienced football team or we’d probably regress as the year went on. It’s not surprising where we’re at. We just have to continue to evaluate where we’re at and we’ve got to figure out what we’ve got to do to get better.”

He has about a week, with WVU scheduled to travel to Maryland to take on the Terps at Noon in a game that will be televised on ESPNU.

Right now, WVU is averaging 340 yards passing per game and just 72 yards rushing per game.

That Houston team in 2009 rushed for 120 yards a game in the first two games of the year, and last year, Oklahoma State, behind All-Americn Kendall Hunter, averaged 232.5.

Here’s an interesting QB comparison, though.

Last year, Brandon Weeden was 51-of-69 for 566 yards and five scores in his first two games under Holgorsen.

Geno Smith is 46-of-69 for 620 yards and six scores and no interceptions.

Weeden finished with 4,277 yards with 34 TD and 13 interceptions.

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