MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bye weeks tend to be introspective times for football teams, ripe for self-scouting and deeper player evaluations.

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, whose reputation as an offensive guru has tapered this season, didn’t care for what he saw from the Mountaineers’ low-scoring attack.

“Offensively we’ve been subpar at everything, so there’s really no tendencies,” he said. “The only tendency is we’re really not great at anything.”

While splitting its first six games this season, WVU (3-3, 1-2) ranks next to last in the Big 12 in scoring at 24 points per game. Going hand-in-hand with that stat is a near-bottom performance in red-zone scoring (73 percent). Whereas West Virginia only has 15 red-zone chances, the rest of the league has an average of 22.

Holgorsen called WVU’s 29.2-percent third-down conversion rate “atrocious”—a fair description considering it ranks ninth in the 10-team conference and 111th out of 123 FBS teams.

But with a half-season to go (and the difficult part of the conference schedule behind them), the Mountaineers can reasonably expect an uptick in offensive efficiency. Part of that involves trimming down the playing rotation at offensive line and receiver, not to mention angling for stability at quarterback, where three players have each made two starts. Clint Trickett is in line to start his third game Saturday when No. 16 Texas Tech visits.

“We have identified as coaches kind of what we do well and what we don’t do well, what the direction of our offense is going, who needs to play, who doesn’t need to play,” Holgorsen said. “We haven’t been moving guys around as much.”

Despite WVU’s offense looking slower and clunkier than Holgorsen’s past units, the coach’s “get-good” philosophy doesn’t require extravagant improvements or wholesale strategic changes.

“You’ve just got to get good at routine plays, you’ve just got to get good at simple execution,” he said. “The more success you have doing that, you’d be surprised at how many routine plays turn into bigger plays.”

“We’ve got to gain some confidence. Once that happens it’s going to pick up some steam to be able to look a little bit better to the human eye, which means points.”

Inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, the team’s top tackler through three games, is expected to return to action this week. He suffered a strained hamstring in the first half of the Week 4 loss at Maryland.

There will be no return this season for backup nose tackle Christian Brown, who sustained a weight room injury a few weeks ago. Holgorsen said Brown, a true sophomore, should qualify for a medical redshirt.

Backup outside linebacker Wes Tonkery expects to miss six weeks after breaking his thumb at Baylor, and reserve safety Ricky Rumph is questionable this week with an undisclosed injury.

Receiver Ivan McCartney suffered a concussion against Oklahoma State, missed the Baylor game and remains questionable. “I don’t know what’s going on there, if he’s going to be cleared to go or not,” Holgorsen said. “I don’t get into the whole head thing, concussion thing, obviously.”

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  • big tom

    my understanding is that we have to win 4 more games to be bowl eligible because William and mary is a FCS team and we don't get credit for the win towards eligibility for a bowl
    If I am correct, we'll never make a bowl this yr..surely there's a MAC team we could have beaten up on ..guess not

    • Allan Taylor

      @big tom: Years ago there were stricter guidelines on Division I-A teams counting wins over I-AA team toward bowl-eligibility——I believe it was one could be counted over a three-year period. Now, FBS teams can count one win over an FCS team (previously I-AA) each season, presuming said FCS school funds 56 of its max 63 scholarships.

  • Dougie

    Fire the AD, fire the coach, fire the commisioner, fire the mayor, fire the governor, fire the president, fire mom and dad and grandpa and grandma!!! Who else can we fire??? I'm not happy! My life's not perfect! Why can't my team be the best at everything!!! Why Why Why !?!

  • richard


  • big tom

    right now per we are ranked 7th in big 12 recruiting..

    when we don't get better recruits, we need exceptional coaching. For the most part, I think we have some pretty good coaches... the end of the year will tell the tale, as to how many of our assistants leave the program on their own.
    Man, I just hope we find our way this yr. and have a winning season and go to and win a bowl.
    This is sad. Holgie is having a very hard time, and huggie is dragging our bb program into the mud... I've been around wvu sports since the sixties and idon't know when both money sports looked so pitiful.
    If Ollie stays, which I predict he won't, but if he does, he has some big decisions to make, especially with huggie, how do you keep him around and let him totally destroy our BB program? He's good with the alums, but how long will that last?

  • Jon

    I would love to see Rich Rod back!

  • Mountaineer fanatic

    RR is doing so well in Arizona some fools want him back. I for one DO NOT.

  • JaneM

    My under standing of the play off next year will be the best teams , not one from the top conferences.. Who ever they "the committee"can come up with " The so called best teams ".

  • richard

    dear eduardo, i am a proud graduate. 2001. people who call people a fool are fools themselves. why the name calling? what did i do to you? did i speak the truth or just didn't speak what you wanted to hear? i have every right to say what i did? did i say something that wasn't the truth? i think not. are you a hothead who gives the finger because someone may have cut in front of you by accident when switching lanes? maybe. there are some people on this site, who if they say something that a "TRUE" fan doesn't want to hear---they get blasted. why is that? i know some on here say things that are just stupid and they want to cut WVU down every which way they can. i am not one of those. everything i said was the truth. to the people who get on here and say that "if you can do a better job yourself, then do it", i'm not the one who is getting paid millions to coach these young men. don't claim to say i can coach them better. but the ones getting paid millions aren't doing millions of dollars worth of coaching. i on the other hand do pay to buy tickets, i give a generous donation to be able to sit where i do and i have the right to say what i said. btw, it wasn't that bad---just the truth. i said all this to say to ever call me a fool again, i wish you would give me a place to meet you and say it to my face---------FOOL!!!!!

    • Fentanyl Bomb


      The Coaches make too much money and richard is an ITG.

  • Pat

    Appreciate the allums comments. I am not one, and many here aren't either. We're not Pennsylvania with pro teams. WVU belongs to all West Virginians.

  • Pat

    Amazing. Heard the same chatter when RR had a bad year. In over his head etc. Give DH a chance. Five years to make the team his own. No less no more. Everyone will love him again if we beat TT this weekend too!

  • george

    yep--keep blaming the players----why are we paying you millions of dollars a year ???????????

  • JimJim

    Questions, Who will be the 4 conferences in the playoffs?

  • Rock Solid

    West Virginians are notorious for always having the inside scoop because they know somebody who knows somebody, who heard from somebody that such and such is going to happen. 99% of the time it is all crap! If Ollie has had enough of seeing how far the state has fallen both economically and culturally he will be gone. Why, because he is smart and doesn't need to baby sit a bunch of naysayers who gripe and moan but never have anything constructive to say except fire everybody. Most of these naysayers probably couldn't find their back side if you gave them a map!

  • David

    That's typical bandwagon fan behavior. If you think you can do a better job coaching than the staff we have now then go right ahead but since you can't best sit back and chill out. As a true fan who knows a lot of what's going on with this team Dana has my full support and once we have the pieces in place in the next couple years we will be a force to be reckoned with.

    • big tom

      I agree but how many yrs of poor recruiting will it take to get "the pieces in place"

  • eduardo

    Guardian, the ACC always looks great, until bowl season. WVU ALONE has more BCS wins than that entire conference. So squash that "point" right there. I will give u the Big 10 this year. Year in and year out the Big 12 is right up there at #2 or #3. That is what a power conference is, no one is going to dethrone the SEC. Did u forget where we came from? A conference as weak as Conf. USA. Most pre-season experts picked us 6-6, so we are on track to meet expectations. So, proud alum, who do you want to be our coach when you and the Wal-Mart Mountaineers run this man out of town?

    • Don

      Reference to "next" coach; how about doc Holiday? Contrary to Dana he has the Marshall program moving in the right direction.

    • Guardian

      Someone with proven head coaching experience - we are not in the position of having to train the latest "hot shot" coordinator to be a head coach, nor were we in 2010 - or 2007, for that matter. What we are not in the position of doing is trying to lure away a "big name" head coach - our pockets are just not that deep. But look in the ranks of the mid-major conferences - the MAC, CUSA, MWC, Sun Belt, and so forth. There are head coaches in those conferences doing great work with very little resources who would jump at the chance to come to WVU. And you don't have to teach them how to be a head coach.

    • Heart Shot

      Hey Eduardo remember Calvin Magee?