Tuesdays with Dana Holgorsen have taken on a confessional timbre. After Marshall, he kicked himself for the fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak. Post-JMU he lamented not punting on fourth-and-2. And today he fessed up to his Maryland regret: impatient play-calling.
With the Terps milking the play clock, and because WVU scored a defensive touchdown that eliminated an offensive series, the Mountaineers ran only 11 plays in the first quarter, which left Holgorsen annoyed and antsy.
"I’d like to say no (it didn’t have an impact), but it probably has some effect," Holgorsen said. "I got impatient, so I don’t know if I called the best game.
"What (Maryland) was doing in their three drives, they were huddling and getting on the ball and then waiting 30 seconds. How they do that, I don’t know. That’s hard to watch. I got impatient. I don’t think it’s the right thing, but it’s human nature."
It’s also human nature for the Mountaineers to be hyper-enthused about the program’s first Big 12 game. While soaking up that new-league smell may be an emphasis for fans, Holgorsen doesn’t want it impacting his team’s preparation routine.
"We’re not playing the Big 12, we’re playing Baylor," he said.
On the topic of WVU acclimating to its new conference, however, Holgorsen admitted some personnel decisions will be affected — particularly by the uptempo offenses that generate more plays.
"You could go into a Big East game and just plan on playing about 40 kids, which happened last year and it’s happened here for a long time," he said. "That’s hard to do (in the Big 12) when you’re taking that many snaps. Baylor’s averaging 90 snaps a game and they’re defending 87, 88 snaps a game."
KNOWING YOUR FOE
Holgorsen dismissed the notion that longtime Big 12 members have any preparation advantage over the newbies, West Virginia at TCU.
"There’s no secrets out there when it comes to what our game plans are going to be," he said. "We’ve got as much film on Baylor as Baylor’s got on us, which was the same amount of film we had on Maryland. There’s only so many hours in the day, and there’s only so much film you can watch."
ALSTON SOUNDS PROBABLE
While he stopped short of pronouncing tailback Shawne Alston ready to play against Baylor, Holgorsen said he expects the senior to be recovered from a thigh bruise.
"He’s day-to-day," the coach said.
Alston played only a couple snaps against Maryland and did not get a carry. He had 30 rushes for 185 yards and three touchdowns in the first two games.
"He needs to practice at a high level this week in order to play," Holgorsen said. "Do I expect that to happen? Yeah, I do."
GOING BACK WITH BRILES
Much will be written this week about the coaching connection between Baylor’s Art Briles and Holgorsen — maybe a little too much. Sure, the two were offensive assistants under Mike Leach at Texas Tech from 2000-02, but a decade later, their uptempo offenses are hardly identical.
"That was 10 years ago, I can’t remember what I did 10 days ago," Holgorsen cracked. "He’s been at two different stops and has evolved. I’ve been at three different stops and have evolved. We haven’t sat down and talked football in 10 years, so there’s obviously some differences."
Holgorsen, however, has kept up with Baylor’s drastic improvement under Briles.
"That wasn’t the easiest job that he took over four to five years ago," Holgorsen said. "He got it to the point where they’re going to bowl games, they’re winning, they’re ranked, they’re being talked about from a national standpoint and they’re building facilities that are fantastic. What he’s done with that program is impressive."
Watch Holgorsen’s news conference: