Holgorsen Defends League at Big 12 Media Days - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Holgorsen Defends League at Big 12 Media Days

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WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen (PHOTO: Emily Coyle) WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen (PHOTO: Emily Coyle)
FRISCO, Texas -

Something feels different for Dana Holgorsen as this year’s Big 12 Media Days.

It could just be the change of venue for the two-day event, but it seemed to run deeper than that as the West Virginia head coach sat down to speak in front of the reporters who had gathered at the Ford Center at the Star Tuesday morning.

“Going into our sixth year [in the Big 12], we really for the first time feel like we’re a true member,” Holgorsen said.

Being a true member this year seems to mean defending the league’s football team from outside criticism.

The Big 12 has missed out on the College Football Playoff two of the three years that it has been in place and it has its perception falling behind that of the other four Power 5 conferences. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby spent more than 45 minutes promoting the league to kickoff the event on Monday morning and many coaches and players have been asked to do the same in the hours since.

“I think our image has to improve by just continuing to win games,” Holgorsen said. “It’s a new year, let’s get out there and we’ve got some very high profile games coming up. Game 1, we play Sunday night, primetime, Virginia Tech. You want to reshape the image of the league, you’ve got to win games. That’s what it’s about.”

The Mountaineers brought four seniors to the week’s festivities in Frisco, so a redshirt junior quarterback was not on the list. Still, Will Grier was a major part of the conversation as the preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year prepares to lead WVU’s offense.

“He’s got the locker room ready to roll,” Holgorsen said of Grier. “He can sit in there, he’s tall, he can make his reads and he can make every throw.”

Unlike Howard before him, Grier will not have so much in the way of designed quarterback runs, despite the fact that Holgorsen claims his athleticism could fool an opponent. Justin Crawford, in attendance today, is the Big 12’s returning rushing leader after going for nearly 1,200 yards in his debut with the Mountaineers. With three running backs who eclipsed the 100-yard mark in 2016 coming back this fall, the onus will not be on the quarterback to make plays with his feet.

Grier is one of many transfers who the Mountaineers have taken under Holgorsen’s watch and he was asked about that practice Tuesday.

“The first year in the league, we had some top end talent, but our depth wasn’t very good. Recruited a lot of high school kids, got our depth better, but we went 4-8, so we needed some more top end talent. Started doing a lot of transfers and they’ve worked out,” Holgorsen said. “West Virginia is a little bit of a melting pot. We don’t get many high school kids from West Virginia. Probably zero to two per year, so we’ve got to go everywhere.”

Crawford and senior safety Kyzir White, both on hand in Frisco, are prime examples of how well transfers have worked out for Holgorsen and his teams.

Big 12 Media Days wraps up today before the teams all head their separate ways to prepare for the start of fall camp on their respective campuses. West Virginia opens its 2017 season on Sept. 3 against Virginia Tech at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

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