MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Rapid reaction from Dana Holgorsen’s news conference on Tuesday, which I expected to sound like a FEMA briefing but instead heralded the power of positive thinking:
“We’re THAT close to being a damn good football team.”
Yup, in the same way Mars is THAT close to Jupiter.
“We’re sitting here at 2-2 with both losses coming on the road to undefeated teams.”
With both wins coming at home against Georgia State and William & Mary.
“Because I evaluate him every day in practice—you don’t.”
Holgorsen, asked why Clint Trickett (the team’s most experienced quarterback) has played only six snaps through four games, snapped off that retort to 90-year-old Mickey Furfari (the room’s most experienced sports writer).
“We can field a punt—that would be a start.”
Addressing WVU’s eight lost fumbles—second-most in the FBS—Holgorsen fixated on the two crucial turnovers by Mario Alford at Oklahoma and Ronald Carswell at Maryland. Back-breaking mistakes, for sure, but they were just part of the problem. Take out those fumbles and WVU still has six, which would be tied for third-worst in the FBS.
“We’ll work it today (at practice). I’ll blow a whistle and say, ‘We just got a turnover, run out there and score.’ We’re having trouble scoring period.”
Holgorsen flashing some quick-change sarcasm on the topic of West Virginia scoring just seven points off its eight defensive takeaways this season.
“When a couple of things happened earlier (at Maryland), everybody kind of got all wide-eyed and said, ‘Oh crap.’ That can’t happen. We can’t play like that. It’s 100-percent coaching. I can’t have guys that are scared to make a mistake.”
Fear the turtle, don’t fear the game.
“I need to change my mentality if I want (the players) to change their mentality. I’m going to expect good things to happen. If you sit there and worry about calling the perfect play, then you’re going to call a bad one. That mentality needs to go away. We need to relax, and we need to get out there and we need to expect good things to happen. Right now, offensively, I don’t see that happening. And that needs to exist with me.”
Hey, I recognize Holgorsen is only a third-year head coach, and thus he should remain open to re-evaluating his approach to the psychological tone he sets for his team. This sounds like a boss questioning himself and grasping for answers, but if you can’t question yourself after a 37-0 train wreck at Maryland, then when can you?