The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 29, 2013

Offensive struggles ‘frustrating’ for WVU

Luck reportedly close to being named AD at University of Texas

Billed as an offensive guru upon his arrival at West Virginia University, Dana Holgorsen, the Mountaineers’ third-year head coach, has never experienced anything but success with his offense.

Whether it was as an offensive coordinator at Houston, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State or as the head coach of the Mountaineers the last two seasons, Holgorsen’s offenses have put points on the board faster than a 15-year-old with an Xbox controller.

This year, though, things have been different. Instead of competing to break offensive records, this year’s Mountaineers are fighting to stay out of the Big 12 basement. Kansas is the only Big 12 team that has scored fewer points per game than the Mountaineers (22.9), and WVU ranks seventh out of 10 Big 12 teams in total offense, averaging 395.8 yards per game. That’s more than 320 yards per game behind Baylor, the Big 12 and national leader in that category.

“It’s been challenging,” Holgorsen admitted of the struggles. “I’ve never dealt with it before. I’ve never dealt with this many guys that are new. We’ve got new people at every single spot and a coaching staff that continues to learn how to coach together, game plan together and call plays  and react to that together.

“I’ve been very pleased with how our coaching staff has bonded and united to work together. But it’s still a lot of unknowns. We have three (coaches) that haven’t coached this offense before.”

This late in the year, the Mountaineers (3-5, 1-4) are not going to suddenly shoot to the top of the Big 12 and start putting 50 points per game on the scoreboard.

But what Holgorsen hopes to see, beginning with Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. contest at TCU (3-5, 1-4 Big 12), which will air live on ESPNU, is some sign that things are going in the right direction.

“I just want to continue to show improvement,” he said during Monday’s Big 12 coaches conference call. “Is it winning offensive football? No it’s not, and it hasn’t been all year. I take full responsibility for that.

“We need to continue to coach them hard, which we are. Our players need to allow themselves to be coached, which they are. We need to continue to develop young guys and recruit guys that can come in and put winning football out there on the field.”

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The Big 12 announced Monday that WVU’s Nov. 9 game against Texas at Milan Puskar Stadium will be televised by FOX and kick off at 7 p.m. It will be the Mountaineers’ first home night game of the season.

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Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com, the University of Texas’ Rivals.com website, reported Monday that WVU athletic director Oliver Luck is expected to become the next athletic director at Texas, replacing DeLoss Dodds, who announced his upcoming retirement after 32 years at the Longhorns’ athletic director.

The report said Luck’s name has been suggested by a search firm hired by the University of Texas, and a contract could be finalized as soon as Nov. 13.

Luck, who has continually refused comment on the Texas situation since the announcement of Dodds’ retirement, received his law degree from Texas after getting his undergraduate degree from WVU. He also spent time in the Lone Star State as the president and general manager of the Houston Dynamo.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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