LAWRENCE, Kan. — Try as we might to categorize this West Virginia football collective, to judge competency and gauge progress, its identity has juked and jittered from week to week—or in some cases, series to series.

Then came Saturday at KU, where clarity arrived with insulting force.

In a performance flatter than the Osage plains, West Virginia suffered loss No. 7, and despite Dana Holgorsen’s postgame spiel that all losses sting the same, this one undeniably stung worse than any of the previous six.

A 31-19 blistering by Kansas also assured that this season—the one with the “rebuilding” tag applied squarely to the front—is an unmitigated disappointment. Needing only to beat the dregs of the Big 12 to salvage the program’s 11-year bowl streak, WVU mustered neither enough emotion or discipline to warrant a postseason invite. Let some other team practice in a Brooklyn hotel ballroom … this one isn’t deserving.

“Probably the most disappointing game of the year,” said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, whose unit needed two touchdowns in the final 5 minutes merely to make the outcome respectable. That is, if climbing within 12 points of a team ending a three-year conference drought can be considered respectable.

“We just didn’t play as hard as (Kansas) did.”

By halftime, Kansas had 17 points (eclipsing its per-game average of 15.9) and West Virginia wasn’t keeping pace, carrying the glazed-over look of a team still depleted from the previous week’s loss to Texas.

Big-play target Kevin White—producer of a three-catch, 9-yard receiving day—was his typically candid self, admitting WVU didn’t consider Kansas a serious threat.

“This week was just a little off,” White said. “Big loss when we played Texas—we should have won that game. Then we come in here and like, “Aw, we’re playing Kansas.’”

That overconfidence only ballooned when West Virginia covered 75 yards on its first six plays to move ahead 7-0. West Virginia’s next 12 possessions, however, produced zilch.

“I thought we was going to beat them by a lot,” White said. “Everybody was just calm, like ‘Yeah, we got it. We’re playing Kansas.’ I just think we took them too lightly, myself included. We came out dead—just wasn’t into it. We were just off.”

That off-again, on-again contrariety looms as this team’s beguiling legacy: The only squad to take down preseason favorite Oklahoma State also is the only one to send Kansas students scurrying up the goal posts.

“This team’s good enough to beat anybody at the top (of the Big 12),” Holgorsen said, before tacking on a rather obvious caveat. “And this team’s not good enough to beat anybody at the bottom if we don’t play well.”

From top-to-bottom of the league—what a capricious bunch these Mountaineers became. Today, they’re clearly closer to the bottom. Rock chalk bottom.

Where does that leave Holgorsen, whose second season as head coach was worse than his first, and whose third season was worse than his second?

With WVU’s athletics department expected to dip back into the red next year, he’s too expensive to fire—owed more than $9 million on a contract that stretches through the 2017 season. From a pure performance perspective, Holgorsen deserves another season, though 2014 had better show more player development and fewer noncompetitive outcomes.

The perception WVU was close to being a winner this season is downright dubious: In only one of those seven losses did it have a chance to tie or lead on the final possession. That one was last week’s overtime gut-punch against Texas, a game rich with energy, dash and grit.

All things conspicuously absent against Kansas.

 

 


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Comments

  • Steve in GA

    I have kept my mouth shut for far too long! I am a true WV fan from top to bottom in every sport we participate in. I LOVE THIS SCHOOL! Am I disappointed int he results this year YES! But I am even more disappointed in the many fans on this e\site and others that continue to bash our football and basketball coaching staffs. I have had an opportunity to meet and get to know both staffs since that have been leading our teams. In both cases I have found men who love the school, and her players along with our great fans, event hose that talk trash about them. If you have a problem with the teams performance fine. Talk trash about that, leave the personal attacks on the coaches out of it. this are men at great integrity both in their personal and professional lives! I wonder how many of you have been arrested for DUI? Probably a many of you have. Would it be OK if we talked trash about you over a mistake in judgement from 3 or more years ago? Leave the personal stuff out of it. Let's start rebuilding for next year and It's a great day to be a Mountaineer where ever you may be!

    • William

      @Steve - I guess the truth HURTS!
      Bob "Sweatsuit" Huggins has been an EMBARRASSMENT TO THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA.
      He should have been FIRED last year for what he said on the court to the referee last year.
      Take your kids and sit behind Huggins at a game and then tell me what type of guy he is
      Did you see what he did at the NIKE Clinic at Robert Morris (Goggle it)
      "Sweatsuit" Huggins is a joke
      "Man in Black" Holgerson is a joke
      When you hire guys with POOR CHARACTER thing might end up in a big mess
      Some WVU fans can't take the TRUTH
      WVU sports is at a low time low

      • Uncle Unctuous

        I tried to Goggle it, but after I put the goggles on, I didn't really see anything different.

      • 1095golf

        AMEN

      • Greg

        William, you are the true joke. Look in the mirror sometime. If you feel good about the way you conduct your life and think that coming on these websites spewing your venom about these men, who accomplish more in one minute of their lives than you have and will in your entire life, then feel good. But if you truly man up and recognize how childish you are, then please try to change. Your are a true embarrassment to yourself and your family.

        • William

          @Greg - I hang out with men with class and great character.
          Look at the people around U, now what do U have to say?

    • Big Larry

      I disagree...

      There is no way to fix a train wreck…you just have to clean up the mess and start all over.

      This is Oliver Luck’s train wreck and he has went into isolation…afraid to show his face.

      He needs to resign ASAP. Since the president of the University jumped ship and there is nobody to fire him, he needs to resign.

      His heart is not here anyway, he wants to be in Texas…so please Oliver, just resign.

      Dana “The man in Black” Holgorsen is an underachiever who has failed and not lived up to expectations. He needs to go along with the entire Brew Crew.

      As long as the deaf, dumb & blind Mountaineer football and basketball fans keep buying tickets, nothing will ever change. The only thing the WVU Athletic Department is concerned with is not wins & losses, but rather ticket & beer sales.

      QUIT BUYING TICKETS!!!

      And yes, it is a SAD SAD day to be a Mountaineer Sports Fan…

      >>>Wherever you may be!

      • Greg

        Big Larry, since I suspect you've probably conjured up some fake disability and live off a government check, let me explain to you how it works in the real world. You get a chance to interview for a higher paying job you take it. It doesn't show a sign of disrespect to your current employer. If nothing else it shows how valuable you are to them. You might even do it just to find out as much about what they're doing there and take it back to your own organization. But there is nobody out there in this great land of ours who, with any initiative (unlike you), is going to pass up an opportunity to double their salary.

        BTW Big Larry, on a personal note, I was fortunate enough to after 60 hours of work last week draw a paycheck out of which I paid over $600 in taxes. However, it makes me sick to the stomach knowing that somewhere down the line I paid for beer and cigarettes for you and your type! Maybe even oxycodene in your case based on some of the comments you post.

        • wvrefugee

          This may be one of the most useless posts on here I've ever seen. Maybe if you went to college you'd earn more than $600 bucks per week??

          • J.P.

            Maybe if you went to college, you would see that he "paid" $600 in taxes. He earned much more than that. Learn to read!!!

      • Art in Ohio

        QUITE BUYING TICKETS.....

        Kill the program

        Tear down the stadium ASAP

        Kill the program.

        FIRE EVERYONE

        Kill the program

        Get a grip and that help this program. It will get better next year and for years to come. Thank goodness cooler heads run the university..

      • Wayne Mc

        You know, I am tired of reading your negative postings about Oliver Luck, the coaching staff and yes "Quit Buying Tickets"
        - that really makes sense. I don't know about you, but I have been an EER's fan for sometime and enjoy going to Morgantown to see my Mountaineers in the fall and I am going to keep on buying tickets and hope that other fans with any loyalty and sense will keep on buying tickets. We start very few Seniors. You need Senior Experience and leadership to be a good team. Holgerson didn't recruit this Senior Class - He inherited them. Just where do you think we get a better Coach than Holgerson. Do you think Saban, Les Miles, Urban Myers, etc.. are going to come to WVU. Every Coach WVU has had, if they didn't have a perfect Season and win a Bowl Game, then people like you, Big Larry, are on here wanting to run them out of town. Give him a chance, I think with what we have coming back next year and the recruits, that we will have a decent team next year.

    • Richard

      Steve,

      Foldgerson has no integrity, and yes Steve-O personal integrity has everything to do with it. Guess you are a win at all cost type of guy.

      • wvrefugee

        I am.....but we ain't winning!!!

    • 1095golf

      FIRE THEM TODAY......

    • lee arthur

      Steve you are just one of the mindless moron's that doesn't understand what or who it takes to build a quality program , just shut up and crawl back into your hole.

    • RJ

      Steve we've been rebuilding the last 3 years!!!! By the way, what kind of pride can be mustered when 2 of your 4 wins were against a FCS school William & Mary 7-4 and first year FBS Georgia St. that has a 0-10 record! Wow! We have only 1 real quality win, Oklahoma St. Face up to the truth, the program is sinking! Will not be much better next year. Mountaineer Nation expects more than the excuses written by ones on here. It is what it is!!!

    • BH

      Wow, your defense of this coach is " probably many of you have been arrested for DUI". Coach DH is getting paid $millions - and would receive an $11 million buyout even if next years record is 0-12. Fans have every right to be critical.

    • JW20

      Thank you!

    • AlternFan

      how many of us get paid millions to develop teenagers into young men? How many of us get whatever we ask for to produce a product that is worthy of being consumed? How many of us are "the face" of west virginia??

      That type of responsibility demands an individual with self control and knowing wrong from right.

  • CaptainQ

    Time to sit back and have a reality check here.

    Did ANYONE expect WVU to waltz into the Big 12 Conference and dominate it like they once did the old Big East from the start? It was easy to be a 'big fish in a little pond.' But now, the 'pond' is a whole lot bigger, and the Mountaineer 'fish' looks a lot smaller compared to the traditional powerhouse teams of the Big 12. Oliver Luck HAD to get WVU into the Big 12 for the money, there's no denying this. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity (after the SEC, ACC and Big Ten didn't want WVU) to get into a true 'big boy' conference and Luck had to grab it or else remain in what became the American Athletic Conference (a.k.a. Big Least). This is the tradeoff the Mountaineers made to get it, bigger money, but with BIGGER conference competition.

    Could the Mountaineers be a power team in the Big 12 someday? Perhaps. But it could take a while. I know fans don't want to be patient, but that's what it's going to take to be a Mountaineer football fan for the next few years.

    • Richard

      Captain Q,

      I did not expect us to dominate in the Big 12. What I expected this year was a bad record and to see progress in the rebuilding process. I have seen none.

    • Hillboy

      Cap, no one expected WVU to dominate the B12. And, WVU never "dominated" the Big East. They were, however, competitive almost every year. That's what people expected--that WVU would be competitive, not dominant, in the B12. In intermittent spurts WVU was competitive this year. But, when they were bad, they were very, very bad. Losing to Kansas, is like losing to Temple when they were in the Big East--inconceivable.

    • Shadow

      You never invite a winner to a poker game. You always invite a loser if you can find him.

    • Kevin

      Agrees , we're not going to win 10 games a yr in this conference,, look at Florida for an example,, look at the resources they have and 4 and 5 star recuirts they get a yr,, and their struggling ,,

    • Fred

      Thank you Captain. Well said. Remember when we went to the Big East in all sports in 1995. It took the men's b-ball team like 15 years to win the Big East Conference tournament. Will it take coaching changes? Perhaps. Only time will tell. Remember why Oliver Luck hired Holgorsen in the first place. He thought since TCU was coming into the Big East the conference title will go through Fort Worth. When Syracuse and Pitt jump ship to the ACC and TCU going to the Big 12 we had no choice but to go to the Big 12. No other conference didn't want to take us. So sit back and relax people. It's only a game.

    • Wayne Mc

      Captain - couldn't have said it any better!!!!

  • Robin

    Allan I have to disagree. This season was not a disappointment. It is a disaster, an embarrassment. Only team in the country to compare is Florida.

    If we can't afford to remove the head coach then it is time to remove the assistants on both sides of the ball. Changes must be made.

    • WVWho

      Florida lost 3 all Americans on defense earlier in the year and are down to their 3rd string qb and running back.

      • Pruntytown

        WVU doesn't have all-americans to lose. However, we were down 5 starters on defense with little to no depth to back them up. Millard would be a water boy at best on Florida's depth chart.

  • leroy j gibbs

    Ollie knows this loss has stained wvu's rep.will be hard to recruit for the future now. He has no choice but to let dana go.Ollie is a lawyer. He can figure out a way to do this without it costing the full amount

    • big tom

      you're forgetting,, it's just not dana's salary, it's the entire coaching staff, and that would cost us well over 15 million, I am guessing, then you have to hire a new staff and start paying for them,,,,,it's no cheap fix

    • wvrefugee

      Ollie couldn't figure his way out of the coliseum! FAIL!

  • William

    Why is Oliver Luck MIA
    His silence tells it all

    • Coalwiz

      I disagree.

      He has not publicly given the "vote of confidence" for Coach Holgerson. Having not done this he has been able to keep his options open as to what he may try to do at season's end, whether its replacing Holgerson, or just some members of his staff. Luck made a bad decision on this, but he approaches every decision smartly so that he doesn't put himself in a bad position.

    • Ron Jeremy

      I think "William" is actually an agent of McDonalds

      • William

        I'm Lovin' It

      • Greg

        He is just as big a clown as Ronald McDonald, that's for sure.

      • JS

        I agree, his opinions should be on the Dollar Menu.

    • wvrefugee

      Too busy going to Colts games! Check on it!

    • wvrefugee

      LOL. He hid the entire day yesterday at the hoops game! He even stayed away from his pimp, Drew Payne!

  • Mtn. Man

    Every team has ups and downs but.....As a WVU fan I've never felt so down and hopeless. Absolutely NO light at the end of THIS tunnel.

    • Big Larry

      QUIT BUYING TICKETS!!!

      • wvrefugee

        Unfortunately, I agree! I went from 20 fb tix last year to 2 this season. I will not renew my light blue lot RV pass next year. If Luck is about the money, show him where the money is!!

  • Richard

    I knew this was a rebuilding year and expected a poor record. What I did not expect was we did not see a team that improved as the year went along. We saw a team that got worse.

  • Big joke

    Comparisons to the Big East fly out the window when Kansas beats you like a rented mule. A Dana coached team would be no better In the Big East, now the AAC.

    Dana is not a head coach. Period. His players have no passion. It's obvious they don't play hard for their coach. He doesn't teach, just throws hissy fits.

    Get prepared for similar results next season. It's coming.

  • george

    Maybe William is a Pitt grad...............................or...no grad.............

    • Greg

      William's probably like Jethro Bodine. Never made it past the 5th grade. He might be a "double not spy" though.

  • William

    Bring on BAMA'

  • Frank Boso

    Luck and Holgorson and the BIG 12. WVU did make a deal with the devil and so far we have lost big time. I didn't like the move to the Big 12 because its too far away and how can we recruit to stay competitive in this league? In Morgantown? And where are the idiots talking "national championship" when we moved south and west?
    Reality check...........a duo like White and Slayton only come along once every 20 years. Looks like we have another 15 to go.............sadly.

  • RJ

    Excuses! Dana blames it on being in a much better conference. Big East beat many of those Big 12 teams! Excuses! This loss is worse than when the Eer's got beat by Pitt in 2007 that knocked us out of a National Championship possibly! Many people have a blame for this terrible team, coaches, lack of talent and yes, Oliver Luck for giving a contract to this coach that no matter what performance (or lack thereof) he will still have a job. Look for attendance and financial support to drop. This year is a total embarrassment to the University and all of Mountaineer Nation. Don't look for much improvement out of this sub par bunch next year again. After all we can't even beat Kansas!!!!

    • Richard

      RJ, I agree we joined a tougher conference and it means a few more losses. I expected a down year. I said 5-7 at best. WVU fans better get ready to accept 8-4 as a good record in the Big 12. Not sure if we will ever see 8-4 with Foldgerson.

    • Big Larry

      RJ

      We will only see changes when the fans...

      QUIT BUYING TICKETS!!!

  • William

    When you hire guys with poor CHARACTER, things could end up in a big MESS!
    WVU Football & Basketball
    I'M LOVIN' IT

    • William

      It's a SAD, SAD time to be a Mountaineer fan wherever you may be
      But wait, basketball season is here
      I'M LOVIN' IT

      • Yogi Wahoo

        Gomer Bill....go back to the basement.

    • leroy j gibbs

      William why are you loving this? What kind of mountaneer fan would love this? You just lost any cred with me.stay on the marshall web page from now on!

      • Gilbert Gnarley

        A Herd Hater sighting!

        Marshall has nothing to do with this.

  • William

    Lose to Kansas, its Kansas man, Kansas, just Kansas.
    Since 2009 Kansas is 1 - 27 in BIG 12
    I just wet my pant, Kansas, lose to Kansas
    I'M LOVIN' IT

    • SamWvu304

      William!!!we understand you know the McDonalds theme quite well. Goes to show your character behind the keypad. Win or lose.. Once a Mountaineer ALWAYS, a Mountaineer. Lets Go get some recruiting done.. How about a few players who can catch a football. AllI saw this year was players in position to make plays that matter,but didn't happen. Holgs can't catch the ball or block for the QB himself.

    • AJ

      You are seriously a sick person Wiliam. Crawl back to ur Mom's basement and pop some meds. Piece of shat.

    • Uncle Unctuous

      It takes real courage for a grown man to publicly admit to incontinence. Kudos.

  • rekterx

    Fair enough. But this piece wavers between that of a beat reporter and an opinion piece.

    Let's just be prepared to give equal consideration to the progress or lack of progress of the basketball team and its coach.