West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen doesn’t feel like he has a new toy in the backfield version of Tavon Austin, who ran for a school-record 344 yards against Oklahoma. The coach suggests the 21 carries the receiver-turned-running back had against Oklahoma were maximum usage.
“If Tavon was an every-down running back and could carry the ball 40 times a game, he would have been doing it (previously),” Holgorsen said.
“It’s just flat-out ridiculous the amount of yards that he had on limited carries. It’s a performance that may not ever be duplicated in college football for quite some time. With that said, if we had handed him the ball twice as many times, he may have had the same amount of yards.”
Holgorsen was asked whether Austin’s explosive-play ability spotlighted a lack of big runs by WVU’s other running backs, Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison.
“That’s an unfair question, really,” the coach said, calling Austin “the most explosive player in college football with — and I say this quite candidly — with the ball in his hands.
“Those other guys don’t have the ability to make people miss like that and they don’t have the ability to run real fast. Is that because of lack of effort? Absolutely not — those guys are trying real hard. Some people can and some people can’t.”
Holgorsen said Buie is wearing down from overuse this season and Garrison hasn’t fully regained his form from last December’s knee surgery.
While Austin said his historic game against the Sooners made him feel like he was back at Dunbar High, he doesn’t regret being utilized as a slot receiver during his four seasons at WVU.
“I wouldn’t change anything: I’d stay a slot receiver,” he said. “For my dream to play in the NFL, I don’t think I would last in the NFL as a running back.”
TAVON THE PASSER?
West Virginia offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson admitted coaches installed a tailback pass for Tavon Austin, but the practice results weren’t promising.
“Put it this way, it was far from a tight spiral,” Dawson said. “I hate to say this, but he doesn’t throw very well. I was a little bit leery about the play. We repped it a few times and I just didn’t feel comfortable with it.”
AFTERNOON KICK FOR KANSAS
WVU”s regular-season finale against Kansas on Dec. 1 will be televised on FSN at 2:30 p.m. Eastern from Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.