MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When you’re 28 years old and handed your first full-time coaching job by a Power 5 program, the learning curve can be steep.
And sometimes heated.
West Virginia receivers coach Tyron Carrier encountered this during last season’s reunion with his former college offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen.
“At Houston we didn’t really care about (our) defense as much,” Carrier said, “so we were scoring really quick and the defense was back out there getting tired.”
No longer focused merely on compiling huge offensive stats, Holgorsen’s game-management approach has evolved over six seasons as a head coach. Uptempo, full-throttle offense has given way to change-of-pace — something Carrier learned during a sideline flare-up early last season.
“We were playing BYU and I’m like, ‘Keep it going, keep it going!’ Then me and him got into it,” Carrier said. “I said, ‘What are we slowing down for?’ He cursed me out and I got quiet.
“We ended up winning that game, and we won that game because we slowed it down. When the bigger picture’s in your hand, you see things different.”
Recognizing that Holgorsen “strategizes a lot better” since those Houston days, Carrier also is developing as a coach — and getting cagey himself. This week he cut short his summer vacation to check up on the receivers’ workouts.
Despite losing Daikiel Shorts and Shelton Gibson, who combined for 106 catches for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns, West Virginia has progressing receivers ready to replace that production.
After some 15 months working with this unit, Carrier offered up some superlatives:
Who’s the fastest? Marcus Simms.
Shiftiest? Also Simms.
The toughest? Ka’Raun White and Gary Jennings.
Best hands? Jovan Durante.
Carrier’s biggest stylistic difference entering Year 2 at West Virginia? Understanding that his template for compiling 320 catches as a slot receiver at Houston isn’t a one-size-fits-all for the guys he’s coaching currently.
“I control my mouth a little bit better,” he said. “I try not to be the coach that yells all the time or lets out so much emotions. I’m calming down.
“I’m more into what they think. Before I was just, ‘No, this is the way you do it,’ and not really listening. Because I did it, I expect them to do it the same way. Now, I think they’ve matured to what I’m saying and buying in even more to what I’m saying.”