I don’t know what it was about this week. Maybe a lot of people had time off or maybe it was just time for them to pop off, but whatever the trigger, this was the week I received the most pointed and aggressive critiques of Dana Holgorsen yet.
The crowd is mixed, but generally speaking everyone is sad to mad about the losses the lack of fixes and improvements, the way Holgorsen behaves on the field, the amount of money he’s paid, the fact he wears black, the notion he doesn’t care about West Virginia (parts of his family live here now, by the way), recruiting and, of course, Joe DeForest.
This week brought about something interesting.
First, Dana Holgorsen doesn’t believe in motivational speakers. I thought at first it was taken a bit out of context, but I’m not so sure now. It just seemed like a bad answer, especially since he’s had people speak to the team before.
Maybe he was trying to say this whole thing is too big to be solved by pep talks, and pushing back against a theory that, you know, had he done this earlier, the record wouldn’t be what it is. I think that’s what he was getting at, but it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense and people have pointed this out all week.
You know what felt weird Saturday night? WVU was playing Oklahoma and never once did I see or hear a clip of the Fiesta Bowl pregame. I don’t know what the hangup was there, except that I think I do and … I don’t know.
Now, does that footage, or a Chris Neild hair-raiser or a Pat White meow make a difference that night or nights earlier? Obviously, Dana does not think so, and what he said did not sit right with many.
So as I’m combing through all of these responses and frustrations, it dawns on me exactly zero people took offense what I figured what would no less bothersome. Holgorsen more or less ran double moves on his cornerbacks.
And no one was bothered by that. I’m not saying they should have been, but it’s always seemed to me fans are super sensitive to a coach singling out players and throwing them under the old bus. But not a peep on this. It’s a fairly honest evaluation of the situation, the players and the coaches, but, man, I was sure it would set off someone.
And then it started to make sense: People are beginning to see things for what they are here. This is not the fault of the cornerbacks, but the scenario there does, in so many ways, highlight the trying times of this transition to the Big 12. It wasn’t supposed to be easy. It’s not easy. It won’t be easy.
I know this came up here before, but these coaches couldn’t say some of the things that would at least serve as serviceable answers. You can’t point out you don’t have players. Until you can. Suddenly, WVU is saying things that it could not say before and that people didn’t want to hear before.
Yet just like defenses caught up to his offense this season, observers caught on to the reality. Holgorsen’s opinion never changed and privately he maintained his team needed this year, probably another and perhaps even a third to get acclimated. No one wanted to hear that, even as they were saying it, and Holgorsen choked it off.
No more, though.
“West Virginia had so much success and just won a lot over the last couple of decades that they’re kind of used to that,” he said this week. “Winning is contagious and it’s always quite a bit of fun, but when you’re used to it and it doesn’t happen, people get fairly bitter. It’s been an eye-opener to a lot of people.”