MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Turf temperatures approached 90 degrees at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock on Saturday, but at least West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and nose guard Kenny Bigelow got a good story out of it.
Early in the second half, Bigelow lay on the turf dealing with a serious case of cramping. By itself, this is not unusual. Holgorsen was concerned about how many snaps Bigelow would be able to play during the season because the problem was so prevalent during training camp.
“Bigelow cramps. He’s just one large muscle,” Holgorsen said Monday on his weekly radio show. “He always gets IVs at halftime. We were concerned with how many snaps we’d be able to get out of him in general. In camp, we thought we’d get 10 per half.”
Bigelow has worked himself into more durable shape than the coaching staff was anticipating, but his old cramping issue cropped up with the Texas sun beating down. Even though his legs temporarily lost their function, his wit remained razor-sharp when Holgorsen went to check on him:
“He’s on the carpet motionless. I look at him and go ‘What’s wrong with you?’ He goes, ‘I’m fat.’”
Holgorsen: Opponents dictate penalties
Flags flew everywhere as the Mountaineers drew 12 penalties for 115 yards against Texas Tech. It brought back shades of the home opener against FCS Youngstown State when West Virginia was flagged a dozen times for 114 yards.
Holgorsen said the more highly penalized games are a byproduct of the opponent.
“If you’re playing a disciplined team, you tend to play more disciplined. If you play an undisciplined or inferior team, you tend to have a lot of penalties,” Holgorsen said. “When you play in a different style or with a different caliber of player, it can get those flags cranked up.”
Nevertheless, it’s an issue Holgorsen wants to fix. Only 31 out of 129 FBS teams are penalized more times per game than WVU (7.75), and only 20 generate more penalty yards (74.7).
“It’s going to get us at some point,” Holgorsen said. “I’m glad we can learn from it sitting here at 4-0.”
Norwood targeting ‘right call’
The most noteworthy Mountaineers penalty was a targeting call against junior cornerback Josh Norwood. Because the penalty occurred in the second half, Norwood will miss the first half of this week’s game against Kansas.
Though Norwood didn’t lead with the crown of his helmet when he jarred Texas Tech receiver Ja’Deion High, he did leave his feet and make contact with High’s head.
“It wasn’t a vicious, malicious hit,” Holgorsen said. “But you can’t launch like that. It was targeting.”
No worries about Brown
Freshman running back Leddie Brown scored a 1-yard touchdown against Texas Tech, but otherwise was held in check — finishing with just 18 yards on nine carries. Holgorsen said the running back was not to blame for the lack of production.
“It was nothing he was doing,” Holgorsen said. “He’s a young, big, physical guy that’s going to have plenty of moments here moving forward. The holes weren’t there when he happened to get the ball.”