Over the years, coaches have built up a repertoire of explanations for humiliating defeats: Every loss counts the same.  We’ll learn from this and get better.  Give the other team credit.  We’ll be ready to play next week.

The intent is to isolate the loss as a single event, something that can be rationally explained in a way that it does not carry a deeper meaning about the state of the program.

A team’s fans, an increasingly impatient collection, are finding it harder to accept such coach speak. Disconcerting defeats penetrate the superficial veneer of sports cliches and reveal the true state of things.

WVU’s 31-19 loss to Kanas Saturday confirms a program in decline.  What was supposed to be a rebuilding year–one where fans would give the coaching staff some latitude–is, in fact, a year of regression.

The victory over Oklahoma State,  and the near misses against Oklahoma and Texas, are the aberrations; Maryland, Baylor and Kansas are more the norm. And among the seven defeats this season, the loss in Lawrence stands out.

As Metronews WVU beat writer Allan Taylor phrased it:  “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.”

A weepy Charlie Weis celebrated with the exuberant Kansas fans who stormed the field, their nightmare conference losing streak of 27 games was over.  The coach sold their remaining contests as their bowl game, and the team bought it.

That’s what a coach in rebuilding mode does; he sets attainable goals and then finds ways to reach them.  WVU has no such direction.  The free-fall cannot be slowed in two weeks by beating an Iowa State football team whose only victory this season is against Tulsa.

It’s darkly appropriate that these two teams should meet in a merciful finale of the regular season.  Let’s put an end to the misery so the seniors, who have dedicated thousands of hours to football, can get on with their lives.

When asked after the game to put the Kansas loss in perspective, a shaken Dana Holgorsen said.  “I guess this would be an all-time low.”

Credit the coach for his candor, but the unanswered question as this season limps to an end is whether this is the lowest point of the Luck/Holgorsen era.   If it is, then 2014 can be about clawing back toward respectability.

But then again, we thought this was a rebuilding year.



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  • Ricardo

    THE mistake was the first mistake, joining the Big 12. I know, "we had no choice". So we joined a conference that has no team with a natural rivalry and a geographic spread that might as well be on the far side of the moon. Forget all the SOS and big boy talk. We sold our fan base for a cut of the big bucks and now we're surprised to find we've replaced Kansas as the league patsy.

  • D.P.

    Jim N Charleston - I've read a few of your comments throughout the past year, and have concluded you are an ABSOLUTE IDIOT!!! Hoppy HAS FORGOTTEN more about WV Sports and WV news and politics than YOU WILL EVER KNOW!!!

    Hoppy has CLASS!!! YOU, Jim N, are TOTALLY DEVOID OF CLASS!!!!!

  • James

    As I said before, we expected more and got less. Luck and Holgorsen have to go !!

  • WVU MA 82

    Dear Fans:

    WVU stands at the point of no return. Either we will rebound in the future, or, we will continue to play less than mediocre ball.

    We hired a coach who had a proven record at several positions. He has yet to prove that he can get the job done in the Big 12. But, are we really convinced that it is the explicit fault of the head coach. Seems there are kids who are not prepared to take on the tasks of performing the job for which they are trained. This squarely rests with the assistant coaching staff. I believe Dana will make recommendations to the AD to rid the program of some of the assistants who have proven to be a detriment to success. Dana is a good coach. He will either get this whole team up and moving in the right direction, or he will be asked to step down.

    From what I have read and seen, I believe Dana to be the type of coach who does not want to be the problem. He wants badly for our Old Gold and Blue to be as successful as Coach Stewart did. Coach Stewart and the others before him did the best with what he (and they) was (were) dealt.

    Please get behind your Mountaineers, and know in your hearts that the right thing will be done. We must accept that what has happened to our program over the past 2 years will not be tolerated any longer. But, I believe that the Head Coach will be the first to leave when he realizes he is not the person for the job. Let us not pick the next coach until the current coaching staff--minus several assistants--has exhausted all efforts to get the job done.

    Pointedly, we need a dependable quarterback who can run the team from whistle to whistle who can make the best decisions, and throw with pin point accuracy. We need receivers who run their routes, catch the ball, and depend on the blocks. We need runners who run up the middle not twenty and thirty yards to the outside when the line is blocking for up the middle plays. We need an offensive line who knows what it means to do the job of protecting the play--whatever the play. We need experienced DBacks who can watch the receiver and the ball at the same time.

    Our best days lie ahead of us, fans. Let us get behind our teams. Let us lift up our heads, let us get and stay involved. Let us help them. We must realize they read these blogs as well.

    There will be plenty of time to point fingers and fire people, but, that time has not come for the head coach: either head coach.

    • Charleston,WV

      Well stated!

  • MoMoney

    Two simple words: FIRE HOLGORSEN!!!!!

    There are alot of the blind faithful on here that owe Big Larry and Big Tom an apology. They, along with myself, foresaw the trainwreck that is Dana Holgorsen. We were predicting 4-8 and 5-7 at best. And what did we get from Holgorsen? 4-8, or maybe 5-7 at best.
    Where are the faithful who were loudly proclaiming Holgorsen would go 9-3 or 8-4 this year, like Shawn and JaneM? How's Holgorsen working out for you now??

  • Calvin

    OMG what fair weather fans we have! How can anyone compare what Bill Stewart did to playing Big 12 teams week after week! I applaud Oliver Luck in making a hard decision to replace Stew.. It's about the long term people. We will be fine. I am and forever will be a Mountaineer! And ps... Bob Huggins is and always will be a great coach and we are blessed to have him in Morgantown!

    • Charleston,WV

      Agreed Calvin, with regards to the" fair weather fans" statement. Former Head Coach Bill Stewart, on the other hand, did the best job he could during his tenure. It apparently was not the direction that OL had envisioned, which is unfortunate for some and not so for others. This might as well be true of HC Dana Holgorsen if he doesn't "right the ship" as 'they' say. Nonetheless, we have one more game this season and I say if you are a season ticket holder, then show your support at least to the student athletes. As the late Bill Stewart would have said "Take Pride in the old Gold and Blue" and so I'll say "Show them your support and Let's Gooooooo Mountaineers!"

    • susanf1218

      Well, aren't you just the eternal optimist??

  • Rick

    What else would you expect from an agency that lost the radio contract. This is exactly the type of stuff and Dale do. Loss a contract that made you tons of money, now you trash tgat very team. Really not much more intelligent than the fans who buy a new couch and then burn it.
    Get a life Hoppy n Dale, you lost the contract to a better deal for the school.
    MOVE ON !!!

  • Joe

    Hoppy i like your appraissl abd enjoyed your show today. I am tired of Holgerson and Higgins saying this falls on me we know that. Butto H and H. They picked their soldiers they picked their majors. And eith holgerson. Who knows what hos thot process is .

  • Mike

    I bet he negative comments were the same in 2001 I believe when we were 3-8 under RR.

  • Uncle Unctuous

    The author states "The free-fall cannot be slowed in two weeks by beating an Iowa State football team whose only victory this season is against Tulsa."

    He then states that "the unanswered question as this season limps to an end is whether this is the lowest point of the Luck/Holgorsen era."

    If the author believes his first statement that the "free-fall" will continue next game, then it would appear that the "unanswered question" is not truly unanswered in his mind.

  • Uncle Unctuous

    I would hate to see Holgorsen leave, because I get tremendous entertainment from the inability of so many internet athletic directors to spell "Holgorsen". This is primarily because they display that inability in the comment sections of articles where the correct spelling is readily available.

    • susanf1218

      HolgersEn, HolgersOn - whatever. What difference does it make?? It doesn't change the fact that he is NOT a good coach - at least not here, not now.

  • wvu1983

    wake up people he is not going anywhere so stop dreaming. And if he will go later in his contract years who in there right mind would want to coach wvu football that is in a rut . also who is holding a gun to all you critics head to keep watching or listening please don't tell me you are a true fan because if you are you would support the program not keep tearing it down every day.

  • Uncle Unctuous

    Pining for Doc, but willing to settle for Terry Bowden. This is fanspeak for "I have no idea what I'm talking about."

  • marcus

    Holgerson is an offensive coordinator that does not have the mentality to lead or to make gametime decisions. In Army terms, he is a great staff guy, but would not make a good commander.

  • jojo

    THere certainly should be some major house cleaning at WVU. Starting with Luck and keep going down. They don't seem to care about WVU or the people of WV. No heart and soul there.