John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury has steered the Red Raiders to a 6-0 start and a No. 16 ranking in the AP poll.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Their not-so-long ago stint as coaching roommates at the University of Houston built upon their previous coach-player relationship at Texas Tech, yet Dana Holgorsen and Kliff Kingsbury aren’t engaging in yesteryear buddy chronicles as their programs prepare to face off this week.

Both have pressure-loaded public missions that override nostalgia and subjugate friendship. Holgorsen is attempting to keep West Virginia (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) out of a tailspin, while Kingsbury is aiming to keep No. 16 Texas Tech (6-0, 3-0) on its unbeaten course to the league title.

Besides, with Holgorsen having coached a combined nine seasons in Lubbock, Texas, and Stillwater, Okla., seemingly every week in the Big 12 brings an opportunity for some sort of reunion.

“We worry about our own teams … so the sentimental side, the personal side, typically doesn’t exist,” Holgorsen said. “Every time you play against guys that you like, you wish them a lot of luck in every game other than one.”

Holgorsen typically is reluctant to delve too deeply into personal relationships, sticking primarily to his football talking points. Kingsbury has shown a similar knack for being respectful and not very revealing, though he described his ties to Holgorsen as “very close” based on their overlapping careers.

“He’s the one who got me a job at the University of Houston,” Kingsbury said. “Obviously, we don’t talk as much now that we’re in the same conference. But I have a ton of respect for him and I wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for him.”

GAMBLING ON KINGSBURY
Last December, Tommy Tuberville curiously left Lubbock for Cincinnati—a sub-lateral move that stung even the Red Raiders fans who never fully embraced Tuberville. To fill the void, Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt needed less than 72 hours to find the anti-Tuberville, making the 33-year-old Kingsbury the second-youngest coach in the FBS.

Despite the reverence Kingsbury built as a record-setting Red Raiders quarterback, he returned to campus with only four years of on-the-field coaching experience. It didn’t hurt that the most recent of those years involved coaching Heisman winner Johnny Manziel during a one-and-done stint at Texas A&M, yet his rapid promotion to head coach was in many ways a gamble.

Through six games, Klingsbury’s hiring looks unquestionably astute.

“There’s a tremendous amount of energy, a tremendous amount of excitement  that’s surrounding the program,” Holgorsen said. “I’m not surprised he was able to get it going there in a short amount of time.”

While Texas Tech’s fast start has come at the expense of a rather puny schedule—its opponents sport a combined record of 12-21—give Kingsbury and his staff credit for stringing together wins despite the kind of quarterback injuries that would cripple many teams. Yet, Texas Tech has produced three high-performers, and it seems almost inconsequential as to whether it will be Baker Mayfield, Davis Webb or Michael Brewer taking snaps this weekend against West Virginia.

MOUNTAINEERS UNEVEN
While Kingsbury has quickly become the toast of Tech, Holgorsen’s program languishes in a 5-9 streak that includes six blowout losses—a disappointing stretch that inevitably fuels disgruntled fans. WVU’s coach said he understands the chirping, especially when the Mountaineers are good enough one week to upset then-No. 11 Oklahoma State yet suffer losses like 37-0 at Maryland and 73-42 at Baylor.

“You try to get your guys ready to win, and when that doesn’t happen it’s a huge letdown,” he said. “We’ve been as high and low as it can possibly get. So we need to get it a level of consistency.”

Given a bye week to recover from the obliteration at Baylor, WVU now prepares to face its fourth ranked opponent of the season.

“That’s what’s great about the Big 12,” Holgorsen said. “If you weren’t successful the previous time when you played a quality opponent, well good news—you get to line up and play another good one the next week.”

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Comments

  • Truthteller

    Hey so far nobody else has put 42 points on Baylor. I think WVU has a good chance to pull out another upset. WVU has its back against the wall and must start winning. Texas Tech is coasting
    and has not played at Morgantown yet so lets give them a nice little memory of how tough it can be to play there. LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS!!!

  • Bernie

    This team is better then what happened at Baylor! We are at home with our great fans and I believe we will surprise TT on all 3 sides of the ball!! This may be the game that us true fans have been waiting for this year to start us on a roll.

  • Mountaineer fanatic

    Last year they started us into a tailspin. This year we will do the same for them.
    LETS GOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS

  • wvajoker

    The head Jackass (Horseman??) is on spouting his drivel. If I were you I wouldn't say to much about anyone else' predictions. Yours have been off several times. Why are you so worried about what color the coach wears?? Do you think he looks unattractive in black or something? If you are so concerned about his fashion sense, maybe you could send him a bright red one and he might wear it. By the way I haven't been trying to be funny, just being as ridiculous as your drivel

  • Bald Headed Pig Cop

    I think the 'eers will pull it off at home this week by 10 points.

    • William

      You are NOT a true Mountaineer fan! No true fan would ever call the team 'EERs! They are Mountaineers. That name might be good for someone like SPOCK on Star Trek. The uniforms are TERRIBLE & UGLY> It would be a great uniform for SPOCK to wear, NOW THAT WOULD BE A GREAT LOOK. Can you picture that? Did you make up that name, or did you just copy that from someone that is not a TRUE MOUNTAINEER?

      • hailey

        Grow up willie, I bet your family is proud of you ....on second thought, no way

  • tw eagle

    without the aid of "home cookin" TTU is a moderately talented team with no speed on either side of the ball . . .a short passing
    offense that tries to break long with "pick" plays . . .WVU run and short pass game
    should open up Myers and White downfield . . .
    a cool brisk autumn afternoon in Mountaineer
    Field should be just the right tonic for a heretofore sluggish WVU offense . . .turnovers
    help the O bash TTU 38-6 . . .
    Let's Gooo Mountaineeerrrsss ! ! !

    • Don

      what running game? for so much hype I haven't seen a decent runner yet. play calling is SO predictable, 1st down, off tackle with loss or at very best a couple of yards. Ok, now let's try that again. Well, I'll be darned they stopped him again, now go to 3rd and long where we throw it away or worse yet, turn the ball over. Now, the best part of the team; the punter! Give me a break, we are in way over our heads, maybe the CAIA, although they have some decent teams also.

  • big tom

    I think due to beating okstate, we think we ar e better than we really are...
    TTU wins this game fairly handily,,, I mean 3 tds'/

    sorry, but this qb carisol is making me dizzy and none of them are showing me something special,,, just the run of the mill guys... Now ford,, if he could get more mobile, well a lot more mobil, and show some ability to run, I would give him another chance,,, but he's dead in the water on pass rushes..He's like a statue, can't move, won't move.l
    there has got to be a high school senior out there with lots of talent and poor grades who has a felony rap sheet , who would come to wvu...surely...
    well, maybe next yr,,, haven't given up on holgs yet,,,not yet

  • JaneM

    As a True WVU fan, naturally I'm going to pick the Mountaineers to win. with TT this is the reason for WVU to win this week. Two games back they knocked off the number 11 team in the country, in the mines of the plays they did it to # 11 team we can this week too. very few said they would win... For this game they have had two weeks off to rest up, get healed up, and to work on the problems needed to work on, and it is at home.. TT has never been to a game in Morgantown it is not easy for a visiting team to win here , all that adds up to a win in my book...I love it...

    • Joe

      Agreed with you, Jane!

      Larry, william, tom, et al, make sure you hold all, er uh, both of your hands crossing the intersection at the stadium.

    • MojoJojo

      They have meds for such dilusions. You should seek some out.

      TT 48
      WVU 13.

  • ducks in a row

    Is it just me, or does Kingsbury resemble (Red Dawson in "We Are Marshall") Matthew Fox?

    Will be tough for any team to play WVU in Mo'Town. Just ask oSu. Hope the time off has helped matters. Let's GO!

  • Big Larry

    I'm going out on a limb here but I am going to make a very bold prediction for Saturday...

    I predict that both head coaches will be wearing BLACK!!!

  • Nostradamus

    WVU 35 TTU 10

    Kliff and his boys come to town
    WVU D gives them a beat down
    Trickett's game comes to light
    We sing Country Roads Saturday Night

  • WVWho

    Tech 49- WVU 46 in a shootout.

  • wvman75

    And I'm sure you'll be sorely missed.

    Go Mountaineers!!

  • Kevin

    Haha no way WVU wins this game. I am a WVU fan but we don't have a coach. He doesn't know what side is up. I am done with WVU until he is gone. This is the last year for season tickets until he is gone.

    • YupYup

      don't let the door hit you in the ars!

      Let's Go Mountaineers!!!

    • Bryan

      Not very smart are you? Of course we have a coach, Dana Holgerson . Just because you and a handful of others don't like him doesn't mean we don't have a coach. And if you can't support the team when they need it ( and I don't really believe your a season ticket holder) then just stay away. A true fan can weather the storms, that's what all true fans have always done. Unless I've missed something we have always had our ups and downs and always will.

      • NorthernWVman

        probably does have season tickets and probably a very well off snob that really has only ever gotten his way.

      • WVUgrad2005

        Don Nehlen was an excellent coach and he had a lot of up and down years. Bill Parcells always said that teams are different from week to week due to injuries, weather, etc. The coaching will sort itself out in time. He either gets them going or he doesn't.

    • Pudge

      Fair weather fan. Everybody has them.

    • BigEerFull

      Thanks a bunch!! Maybe I will be able to upgrade my seats next year. GO EERS!!!

    • doug

      Good. Can I have them?

    • cutty77

      @Kevin,
      Not one Coach in This Country wins a Football Game,that just shows me your lack of knowledge in Football. Now if you don't like the guy i understand that. I bet you liked him the night of the Orange Bowl Blow-Out. I will leave you with this. Great Players Make Great Coaches. Lousy Players make Lousey Coaches. We couldn't stand Bobby Bowden either. lol

  • JaneM

    Big upset in Morgantown this weekend.... WVU does it again to a ranked opponent out of the big 12 Red Raiders shocked.....

    • Dougie

      Allan, if sexist remarks like these don't get deleted in moderation, what is the point of having it? It would be hard to be much more offensive and I see it on every comment Jane makes. Keep this crap off of your site...

    • Dougie

      Love your enthusiasm and positive thinking Jane!

    • hailey

      Lil Larry,what was your Okie State predicton again... 52-1 ? or something like that. Go bake a cake or roast a pig to further clog the arteries to your brain.