MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When Dana Holgorsen hired receivers coach Tony Dews away from Arizona in early February, one media outlet reported Dews wasn’t coming to West Virginia to coach a new position.
Of course, Dews is coaching a new position, overseeing running backs for the first time in his 20-year career.
As Holgorsen explained Tuesday, his search to fill Ja’Juan Seider’s vacancy wasn’t narrowly restricted to assistants possessing “an expertise at one position.” Instead, the head coach took a best-available approach and gave more weight to candidates with “presence” — an intangible he said allows Dews to connect with recruits and current players.
Besides, Dews had a stint coaching tight ends at Pitt and three years’ work with offensive lines at Central Michigan, WVU and a Division II program, so he understands run-game concepts. That cross-over teaching paired well with the emphasis Holgorsen’s offense places on versatility.
“With our running backs you have to teach receiver skills,” Holgorsen said. “To me a skill guy on offense is a skill guy on offense, whether it is running backs, receivers, tight ends or quarterbacks. All those are the same. They are in a lot of the same meetings and run a lot of the same drills.”
(This meshed tightly with the optimism Dews shared hours earlier regarding adaptable new pupil Kennedy McKoy: “He gives me a chance to still coach wideouts a little bit.”)
Fighting the urge to typecast assistants, Holgorsen referenced Tony Gibson being a career-long secondary coach until shifting focus to linebackers three seasons ago.
Above, watch Holgorsen’s complete pre-practice interview session from Tuesday.