Another Challenge

Staff Writer
Posted Sep 30, 2013


After seeing the way his team played against Maryland a week ago, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen wanted to see a quick turnaround from the Mountaineers. He didn't want to see them get too down after the loss with Oklahoma State coming into town.

Now, after taking the Cowboys down by way of a 30-21 upset in Morgantown, the Mountaineers are once again faced with a quick turnaround as they prepare to travel to No. 17 Baylor and square off against what has been the best offense in college football up to this point in the season.

During Monday's Big 12 Coaches' Teleconference, Holgorsen remembered WVU's thrilling 70-63 victory against the Bears in Morgantown to open West Virginia's first Big 12 campaign a year ago. And this year it looks like Baylor is more than capable of putting up that many points again.

Led by first-year starting quarterback Bryce Petty, Baylor is averaging close to 70 points per game through its first three games of the season and 444 of its 751 yards of offense per game come through the aerial attack.

But this is different than last year's game. Both teams will come in with much-improved defenses.

"If you look at how Baylor played from that game (last year) on, they got better and better defensively as the year went on," Holgorsen said. "And they've got pretty much the same guys coming back, so it's all of those guys that bought into what Coach Bennett was teaching them. The philosophy didn't change a whole lot, they just kept getting good at what they were doing.

"They're doing the same stuff with the same people, they're just a lot better at it. They've made tremendous strides defensively."

The West Virginia offense will presumably be going up against that improved Baylor defense with junior quarterback Clint Trickett leading the way. Trickett, who led the Mountaineers to last week's victory against Oklahoma State, is still trying to grasp some of the things with learning the WVU offense, but Holgorsen was pleased overall with the way the Florida State transfer played in his first start as a Mountaineer.

"He reacted well. I kind of had a sense that he was going to do that, just because he's got experience. He's been around the game his whole life," Holgorsen said. "How we coach offense is foreign to him. How we play offense is foreign to him, so it's going to take some time for him to really grasp that."

It makes it even tougher when Trickett is currently nursing an injury in his throwing arm after the OSU game. He joins freshman quarterback Ford Childress as the second Mountaineer quarterback who has had a few nicks to deal with.

"They're both banged up. I don't know how they're going to react to that," Holgorsen said. "We had a light practice on Sunday night where we just had one healthy quarterback in Paul (Millard). Fortunately we've played all three of them, and I'll evaluate how they do on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and make a decision on who it's going to be."

The biggest positive from Saturday's win was that Holgorsen saw his team play loose and have fun - something that was missing in the first few games. He credited that fact to Trickett and what he brought to the table.

"Having Clint out there really gave our guys a sense of calmness because he's got experience," he said. "We challenged them. And we've still got a lot to do on the offensive side, but I've said this from Day One: I don't know when the finished product is going to be available for people to see, but we're still far from being there at this point."


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