Now that we have had a few days to digest the New Year’s Day corned beef and cabbage, as well as the recently completed WVU football season, here are a few questions that run through my mind concerning Mountaineer football.

1. Has the Mountaineers fan base lost some confidence in coach Dana Holgorsen?

It appears so. This time last year Dana was a genius and could do no wrong after hanging 70 points on Clemson in the Orange Bowl. What a difference a year makes. This year, it appears that Mountaineers fans are concerned about his ability to lead the program. There seemed to be a disconnect with the players. Whether that concern is justified or not, time will tell. Heck, our state lost confidence in Bobby Bowden after the 1974 season and he only went on to become one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game.

2. Dana is a part of the Hal Mumme/Mike Leach coaching tree. Is that a good thing?

Well it isn’t like being a part of the Parcells, Belichick, Saban coaching tree.  Those are tough-minded, defensive coaches who have won multiple Super Bowls and national titles.  Mumme has been regarded as a “gimmick guy” who was fired at Kentucky, had some success at Southeastern Louisiana, then was fired again at New Mexico State. He is now coaching small college in Texas. Mumme also had NCAA issues at Kentucky. Leach made Texas Tech one of the more exciting programs in the country. But, he was eventually was fired in Lubbock. His first year at Washington State was fairly stormy also.

3. Philosophically, are the Mountaineers set up to be tough enough defensively to compete in the Big 12?

The knock you hear against teams coached by spread coaches are that they do not get enough “shock” or physical hitting and toughness in practice to have a tough enough defensive mindset to compete.West Virginia certainly got smacked in the mouth many times against Syracuse. It does not appear that the head coach spends much time with the defensive staff or personnel.  Right or wrong, the perception is that there is a disconnect there.

4.  Can the Mountaineers compete in the Big 12?

Based on this year, it is not going to be easy. Most of the media, myself included, thought this would be a big year for West Virgnia in their new home, so what do we know? We are learning, however, and it is clear that the Big 12 won’t necessarily come back to WVU, the Mountaineers will have to go up to the league. Without Geno, Tavon, Bailey and some veteran offensive linemen, it will be a challenge next season.

5.  Do Mountaineer fans have the stomach to be mediocre in the Big 12?

I don’t know. Fans here are used to winning in football now. I’m also not sure they have the wallets to do it. WVU is trying to raise money by re-seating facilities and increasing contributions for seats. When fans give more they expect more wins, not less. When fans give more money, they also expect to give you their “two cents”. Right now, they are grumbling.

6. How is recruiting going?

It appears to be OK, but just OK. West Virginia has never made a living on “five-star, blue chip” recruits. Historically, under Don Nehlen, they competed by sound, fundamental football with overachieving players that developed within the program. Will players develop during their time in Morgantown? Time will tell.

 

 

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Comments

  • David

    Make no mistake about it leadership at WVU has decided that it is all about the money. Students and working middle class will be directed to only the cheapest of seats. I applaud schools such as Duke, North Carolina and others that have students right behind the benches.

    Now can we PLEASE RECRUIT A FIRST CLASS KICKER? Second thought a third class kicker would be nice as well.

  • Moon

    If you can not have a dominating offense in every game with Geno, Tavon and Bailey......you do have a scheme problem....and this genius is not such a genius. 14 points agains TT, Cuse, KSU...... I fear we are in deep trouble.

  • John

    Dana is working with many kids who shouldn't have a scholarship for this level of football. Bill Stewarts TOTAL recruiting classes were AWFUL. He filled in his classes by giving walk ons scholarship's and players who aren't div 1 caliber scholarship's. This up coming recruiting class although not Alabama Caliber is going to be the best recruiting class in the last 25 years. And this is Holgorsen's 2nd class. So he deserves time.

    Now is Holgorsen lousy with in press conferences? YES Will he be allowed 3 more years of results like this year, NO. He is a high salaried guy who needs to get results.

    Huggins, who is paid more, has done little with the players HE has recruited. He throws all the problems on the players and he basically gets a pass. Is it because he is a WVU Grad and from WV? Definitely. but he gets paid more and has done less but very few question him.

    • Chuck (not that one)

      What's with all the hate on Bob Huggins, the man is a state treasure. He's done more for WVU basketball in 5 years than Catlett did in 25. Last I checked Huggins has a NIT championship, an Elite 8, a Final 4, and 2 other NCAA tournament appearances. He had an entire recruiting class not pan out and now is getting all he can get out of youth and inexperience.

      Last I checked Huggs winning percentage was over.700!

  • Helen5844

    All of a sudden there is no place to sign out. Could someone put the sign out spot back.

  • Mark Berry

    One thing was missing at the Pinstripe Bowl, that was the team. We went and spent $1500 to support the team as we always have for the last 10 years. It's disappointing to see our team with no desire, no pride and that all starts at the coaching level.

    • Uncle Fester

      After this 2012 Big 12 debacle, I also will not be spending my hard earned money on WVU sports. Not on WVU football and not on WVU basketball. Fire Holgerson. Retire Huggins. WVU is going to be a perrenial cellar dweller in the Big 12 with Holgerson and Huggins at the helm of these two programs. Holgerson cannot coach and has been out-coached in every game. Huggins cannot recruit anymore. Huggins cannot win much without John Beilein's recruits. Ollie Luck doesn't care about team records or coaches as long as he can sit in his office and be allowed to dream up new ways to pry more $$$ away from the middle class fan.

      • Sean

        With fans like you, who needs enemies? You guys are a disgrace to our fanbase and to our state. I say good riddance to everyone of you, as loyal fans you most certainly are not. You sound like a bunch of babies. Go away and do not come back, you and your piss poor attitudes are not welcome.

  • chad

    We'll be lucky to be 5-7 next year. Simply becoming bowl eligible will be a struggle, and if we do make a bowl it will be a successful season. Nice work Dana.I hope this finally ends all the speculation about Dana leaving everytime another job comes open. He is impressing nobody as a head coach.

  • Ray ray

    I am not looking backwards I am looking south I am looking at Alabama LSU Florida SEC teams I'm not looking backwards to the old smack in your mouth football I'm looking at the real deal west Virginia used to be like that but not anymore since this coach has came to West Virginia University.I also feel that lineage does play a big part in success because if you look around college football who are the greatest coaches in college football and where they from their not from Montana they're not from Ohio they're not from Oklahoma they're not from Florida there from West Virginia need I say more. And the only reason why Hogerson had the success that he had last year was not because of his offense it was because of the defensive coordinator that went to Arizona. Oh and by the way they won their bowl game. A head coach is a leader of men. And I do have faith inCoach Holgerson I hope he makes the right decisions though and the only decision I can see for him is the fire his defense of coordinator and make a hire that's based on his knowledge of football and not how good of a friend he is.

    • Don Jr.

      I have yet to witness the hiring of friends or "yes men" to produce excellence, good point.

  • tony

    Frank-
    I dont get your number 2 at all. Why is your focus on that? It wont win us a game. The lineage is not important after the hire. Are you looking backwards? We now have Dana Holgerson as our coach and what he does as coach is the ONLY important thing. I support him 150%. Give him a chance and quit looking for an easy way out or easy answer. Its gonna take time. We wont win more than 6 next year and we shouldnt expect to.

    Tony, Keyser

  • Hersh

    Frank...you DO realize that WVU has the 20th ranked recruiting class nationally according to Rivals, right? Who am I kidding? You just make this stuff up as you go. Not that I expect anything more from a Penn State/Marshall guy with your resume'. ;-)

  • Ross Ballard

    Hey Frank, your check from Ollie is in the mail. We've lost our MoJo because we sold our soul to the devil. Character counts and we burned ours for some pretty boy from Oklahoma. Why is it WV no long grows our own answers to our own problems in sports and politics? Ross Ballard...

  • Old Mountie Bill

    Sorry, but after sixty seasons of faith, I have lost mine. The coach who lost the team when the losing steak started. He never got them back on track. The offense actually got as bad as the defense. Players looked confused. Mark this down - middle to bottom of the Big 12 until we get a new coach. Perhaps five years down the road.

    • wsv

      I am also a 60 season Mountaineer "Bill". At times our players and coaches looked confused. During one home game Coach Holgorsen walked the side lines without being part of any game sideline huddles, commenting to players coming on or off the field or interacting with the other coaches. Coach Rod was not a loyal West Virginian, Stewart was asleep. Let's support Coach Holgorsen with our comments-positive and negative so that he can feel the Pride of West Virginia-be the leader that Geno was and bring together coaches and players that reflect the goals of our wonderful University.

    • Medman

      Not quite 60 yrs. for me, but close. Commenting on WVU football, Joe Paterno said it best in the early 70s when asked why WVU is not consistently competitive. He responded that WVU will be good when they get enough good players. Having attended too many bowl games over the years, I too have become disenchanted with the hype that always precedes every Mountaineer season, especially this year. I argued with many of my friends about this, but was shouted-down as being too pessimistic. I just shut-up and just waited for the inevitable. Next year will be awful, period.

    • Maury Franklin

      I absolutely agree. When players are ignored and staff confused about what the hell is going on, there is a problem with the head coach. Holgorsen is aloof, self-absorbed, and apparently not up to the task of coordinating the entire program. At after game press conferences he is curt, rude, and snide. It is pretty clear to me he has has met the "Peter Principle." I say, give him one more year (if absolutely necessary), then buy out his contract.

  • Charles

    Until defense gets the same attention that the offense gets, we aren't going to be a great team. We need a defensive coach that is high-energy, in-your-face and can inspire some enthusiasm. Our players are too busy trying to puff out their chests after they make a tackle like they just did something fantastic. They are undisciplined and like to be a show-off. That's poor coaching. Too many personal foul penalties. The defensive backs have no clue they are supposed to look for the ball. They always have their back to the pass. Very few turnovers the entire year. No defensive intensity at all.

  • Matthew

    Well, Oliver Luck got what he wanted - plus he got a big raise a few months ago. According to what I read a couple months ago, many of Holgorsen's bonuses are all based on offensive perormances also. It takes all 3 sides of the ball to win a game. Too bad West Virginia administration wants glitter instead of character.

  • Melvin Meade

    With all the stars on offense WVU should have won despite a poor defense. We have been spoiled the last 10 years or so and we are much discontented. Blow out losses are unacceptable. Don't think his staff capable of competing in B12. Also, he is terrible in post game interviews. So negative. If he is that way all the time who would want to play for him.

    • Dave

      Offense can win games but defense WILL lose games.

  • mike hardesty

    Frank,
    Thoughtful commentary as usual however I am a bit more optimistic. If we make two plays we finish 9 and 3 which would be a nice first season in the Big 12. I believe the staff made a critical error trying to rush the new defense with primarily old system recruits. Frankly, if Casteel had stayed I believe we could have easily finished 10 and 2 (TCU, OKL and OK St). Not saying the 335 would be best for the long haul but would probably have been better this year.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Ben

      Geez! A lot of talk about the Pinstripe Ice Bowl. First, I think there were rumors of WV playing in a warm climate vs. USC. Second, I believe our AD Luck, said he was not interested, it would cost the program money, that WV could not even afford to send the band to such a bowl game. So, it appears to me that Luck is the type of AD that would save a dime to lose a dollar, if WV lost to USC in a shootout on a dry field similar to the OK loss, I think it would have more than made up for any money loss as that game would do a whole lot more than the Pinstripe for recruiting! Of course, good recruits will enhance the program which will of course enhance accounts receivable! Even better, Smith, Tavon, Bailey, Woods, et all deserved better, they deserved to express their talent on a dry field in a warm climate not in the one & only COLD climate frickin ICE BOWL. These players brought plenty of dollars to WVU football-they deserved better!

      To send a team like WVU, who was a one dimensional team all season long, with a talented offense in open space with a defense that was incompetent, to play in a cold climate where the odds are very good of bad weather, is well, STUPID! WVU's only hope was a dry field, Tavon & company cannot juke players on a freekin ice field!

      Anyhow, I also feel that with the talented offense we had in 2012, a good program would have noticed what these players could do 2 seasons ago & a plan should have been put in place to make sure they had a good defense to support such a talented offense. Recruiting should have been in place with that in mind, defensive recruits, redshirts, junco players, defensive coaches, especially coaches with defensive experience, make that "successful" coaches with experience should have been hired!

      Well, I think the AD & our coaching staff should be accountable. Maybe they should be given the same bar that Luck set for Bill Stewart, 9-4 or 8-5 are good but NOT good enough! If you cannot do better than the guy you fired then maybe you should be fired!

      • Mountaineer62

        If 2013 team is 7-6 or worse and O.Luck is still AD, I will not attend another game or spend another $ in my contributions to the school. I have minimal confidence this head coach will get us to a BCS bowl let alone a national championship. In the NFL defense wins championships, offense fills the stadium. Same holds true in BCS, see Tide a--kicking of ND!