Typically, coaches will review the previous year's game video to see how the upcoming foe schemed against their team. Adjustments will be made, and new, slightly revised, offensive and defensive strategies will be planned. However, in the case of this year's match-up between West Virginia and Connecticut, all of that is out the window. A totally new coaching staff at UConn, plus a totally new offensive scheme at West Virginia, have made study of last year's video about as relative in a tactical sense as looking at Civil War battle plans in preparation for modern warfare. So what's to be gained from watching the Huskies' win of a year ago?
“I just want to be familiar with how the the game played out,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I wanted to familiarize myself with how we played against them last year. I also watch it for the personnel, to see how they stack up against our guys.”
Holgorsen also wanted to be able to use the game from a motivational standpoint.
“We already talked to the team about what happened in that game last year. I would anticipate our guys would be ready to play,” he said. “We had a good two hours of practice today.”
Holgorsen said he wasn't concerned about the schedule, which for some reason was brought up as a point of concern by one questioner. WVU's schedule is actually broken up quite well this year, with two strategically placed open dates.
“I am used to a schedule without a break,” he observed. “I have had season where we go 12 straight weeks. I think we can use [the schedule] to our advantage, but it's still just a matter of routine to treat each week the same.”
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West Virginia appeared ready to switch punters against Bowling Green after Corey Smith shanked a 14-yard punt on his first attempt. Michael Molinari warmed up on the sideline, but as as it turned out, the decision didn't have to be made, because the Mountaineers never punted again. Holgorsen indicated that an open competition would again be held this week, but that it would probably not include placekicker Tyler Bitancurt.
“We worked on not shanking the ball tonight,” he quipped when asked about the position. “Mike Molinari will get reps this week to see if he can do better than Corey did. “Tyler was our special teams player of the week, and I didn’t have nay problem putting him on the kickoff team, because he has been doing that in practice all year. The punt swing is completely different, so we won't go to him at this point. It's tough to do all three [types of kicking]. Not many guys can do that.
Holgorsen put off commenting on the defense in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's win, but after a review of video had good things to say about it's performance.
“We made plays on defense,” he noted. “We got five turnovers and made some plays. Making plays on the ball is important, and we had some batted balls, some sacks, and a some strips and an interception.”