Elementary Remedy for Junior-High MIstakes

To correct the litany of “junior-high mistakes” West Virginia committed against Oklahoma State, Dana Holgorsen and his staff went back to teaching junior-high principles.

For a bounding kickoff, Holgorsen told his returners: “It’s a live ball, so field it and run forward.”

For the players covering punts: “When they get inside the 5, they catch it and down it before it goes into the end zone.”

For his own kickers, whose squibbers looked more like onside kicks: “We worked on our kickers putting their foot on the ball and then going downfield.”

Though it sounds mind-numbingly basic, these types of mistakes basically cost West Virginia a chance to beat Oklahoma State on Saturday.

“It’s all elementary stuff,” Holgorsen said during Tuesday afternoon’s news conference. “Should we have to work on that? Yes, I guess. We kind of took some of that stuff for granted, which I’ll take responsibility of that.”

Holgorsen’s responsibility now is re-energizing a team that has lost four consecutive games and sunk toward the bottom of the Big 12. And it’s a journey of problem-solving discovery for Holgorsen himself, considering he has never been through this type of slump as a college assistant.

“No, I haven’t,” he said. “It’s not a lot of fun for anybody. But the only way to get out of it is to work hard, and that’s what our coaching staff’s doing. We put in a long day Sunday, we put in a very long day yesterday and we’ll put in a very long day today.”

All that, in hopes of avoiding a long day next Saturday, when No. 12 Oklahoma makes its first trip to Morgantown.

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