Holgorsen Excited for Coaching Challenge with WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Holgorsen Excited for Coaching Challenge with WVU


Dana Holgorsen sat behind the microphone and one of his team's new helmets Tuesday, facing the media contingent as he answers questions about his team heading into its second season in the Big 12.

There are plenty of questions this year. Unlike last year, when the Mountaineers were intriguing for what they brought back and their newness in the conference, this Big 12 Media Day focused more on what anyone should expect from a team that underperformed in year one and now returns so little of the star power it once had.

"We haven't took a snap yet.  Who knows?" Holgorsen said. "We might be pretty good on offense.  I think we've got to wait and see."

The experienced potential on offense largely lies within the team's running backs room. Take the likes of juniors Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison, add a junior college transfer in Dreamius Smith and Houston transfer Charles Sims and suddenly that group is looking quite deep.

Holgorsen sees that same potential, and counts himself lucky for getting Sims to pick West Virginia University for his final season of college football.

"We're extremely fortunate to have his services for one year," said Holgorsen. "He's a great kid.  He's a tremendous football player.  I was fortunate to be able to be involved with recruiting him when I was at Houston, and I had him for the first year there in 2009."

That familiarity made Holgorsen well aware of what Sims brings to the table and the fact that he will be able to work with him in an offense that loses so much in the way of its passing game bodes well for the plan on that side of the ball.

"He knows what I'm all about.  He knows how I coach," Holgorsen said of Sims. "He knows what our offense is about.  So we need some play makers on offense, after losing, I think, 90 percent of our production last year or whatever that crazy number is."

But Holgorsen doesn't find himself concerned over that crazy number. He sees it as a coaching challenge and as a coach, he is excited for that.

Unlike the past two seasons with Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey the clear leaders in the receiving corps, there are a number of players who are competing for the passes that once went their way. Many of them are inexperienced in games, but have been part of each and every practice and are chomping at the bit to take hold of positions that are up for grabs.

Some are freshmen, some transfers and some veterans who typically viewed games from the sideline and Holgorsen likes what he has seen so far.

"I haven't lost any sleep over Tavon and Stedman moving to the NFL," said Holgorsen. "We don't hold anybody back.  That's not the first time we've lost receivers to the NFL and be able to line up next year and execute our offense.

"When I got to West Virginia a couple of years ago, there was a couple of guys that hadn't made a tremendous amount of plays, and we coached them, and we developed them, and they turned into phenomenal football players and will play in the league for a long time."

Of course, it takes a quarterback to get those receivers the ball. That question mark is perhaps the most intriguing for WVU as the Mountaineers look to replace Geno Smith.

Holgorsen doesn't want to compare any of his current group with the guy who is trying to beat out Mark Sanchez for the New York Jets' QB position, but inevitably, whoever wins the competition will be.

The candidates are Florida State transfer Clint Trickett, junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress. Experience is Trickett's best asset right now before camp begins.

"We've got Clint Trickett coming in, who has probably as much experience in the college game as anybody in the Big 12, just because he's been a starter in some big games, he's been around it his whole life," said Holgorsen. "He's a very smart kid, graduated at Florida State in three years, backed up two first‑round draft picks at Florida State in three years."

Holgorsen also referenced Millard, who has more experience on the field than anyone WVU had during the spring and the most experience as a Mountaineer. His knowledge of the offense, having backed up Smith for two years, is above that of either Trickett or Childress.

"And then you've got Ford Childress, who's going to continue to get better and better.  He may have more potential than any of the other guys. He's just young, with four years remaining," said Holgorsen.

It's an offseason full of intrigue and question marks and the answers will come soon enough. But this should easily be the most difficult, yet exciting, coaching job Holgorsen and his staff will have to do since their first year in Morgantown. 

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