MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — At the top of Dana Holgorsen’s wish list this week? For West Virginia’s offensive line to pass protect better than it did in Stillwater, for Clint Trickett to unchain himself from analysis paralysis, and for Terrell Chestnut to clear concussion protocols.
Those were the talking points Tuesday during Holgorsen’s weekly news conference, a preview of No. 20 West Virginia welcoming No. 10 TCU for a showdown of teams on an eerily similar three-year arc since joining the Big 12.
Both teams went 7-6 in 2012 with the Frogs winning an overtime game 39-38 in Morgantown. Both squads slumped to 4-8 in 2013 with the Mountaineers claiming an overtime win 30-27 in Fort Worth. Both squads already own six victories this season to rank among the Big 12’s biggest surprises.
West Virginia is 10-13 all-time in its new conference, while TCU is 9-13—records on the rise as they chase a conference championship.
“There’s going to be a lot of national attention on this game,” said Holgorsen, who learned earlier in the day that Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game was a sellout. “We’re pretty fired up to host TCU.”
Signs point to a return by Chestnut, a seven-game starter at cornerback before missing last week’s win at Oklahoma State.
“He hasn’t been cleared yet, but we’ll see how he responds,” Holgorsen said. “I would be incredibly disappointed if he wasn’t able to go. When you’re dealing with that type of an injury, that’s out of my hands. That’s completely 100 percent in the doctors’ hands.”
While medics check Chestnut’s head, Holgorsen wants Trickett to clear his.
The quarterback is so intuitive regarding multiple facets of the game—from gauging teammates’ attitudes, to reading defensive cues, to dissecting risk/reward scenarios—that Holgorsen warned him not to be overly meticulous:
“He’s very aware of his surroundings. He knows what the mood is with the guys, He knows when to pick them up, he knows when to challenge them and he know when to slow things down.
“He’s obviously going to be a great coach, but at times you’ve got to just cut loose and play the game. Don’t try to be perfect, don’t try to control the game. He needs to make sure he understand that he’s a player, and don’t forget to play, so to speak.”
Watch Holgorsen’s complete news conference at the top of the page, including another light-popping moment, like the one preceding the Towson game.