October 04, 2011
Only 46,600 fans showed up to watch the Mountaineers' move to 4-1, a week after more than 62,000 packed Mountaineer Stadium for a nationally televised, primetime visit from LSU that supposedly showed WVU fans as some of the loudest and proudest in the country. There were plenty of reasons offered for the lack of attendance, including the nondescript MAC opponent and windy, rainy weather. (It was a blustery 55 degrees at kickoff.) And it probably didn't help that LSU lit up the Mountaineers by 26 points the last time out, either.
"You only get seven opportunities a year," Holgorsen said this morning during his weekly press conference. "What's so hard about it? It's too cold? Wasn't too cold for our players. Wasn't too cold for our coaches or managers or trainers; they're out there. So why did we have 20,000 people less at this one than we did last week?"
Holgorsen doesn't care about excuses, and several times he noted that his team spends the week trying to get better and the fans should do the same. He also pointed out that elite teams don't have to worry about fan support regardless of the opponent.
"The funny thing about it is we're all talking two weeks ago about how much difference the fans and the crowd's going to make to the LSU people," Holgorsen said. "Well, LSU played well in front of 62,000 of our people and then turned around and went home and played a 1-4 Kentucky team at noon and [they] have 95,000 people there. You want to talk about an elite program, that's one of them. I don't know about this place."
Holgorsen's mild-tempered rant sounded a lot like him channeling his former mentor, Mike Leach. He even points out that he has no problem saying what's on his mind and challenging the fans ahead of this Saturday's date with UConn, a team that just lost to Western Michigan.
He's right about a lot of things, though. He did beat the pavement to get the word out about the program, especially after it suffered a PR disaster thanks, in part, to former head coach Bill Stewart, who was allegedly trying to dig up dirt on Holgorsen, then his offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting. So Holgorsen did all that he could — from skydiving to fly fishing - to engage West Virginia fans and show them that he was one of them. Elite teams don't need to beg fans to come to games and rarely will you hear coaches such as Bob Stoops or Les Miles complain that there were enough behinds in the seats.
So while Holgorsen might get a little flack for calling out his fan base, he's not wrong. And if the Mountaineers draw 60,000-plus on Saturday for the 2-3 Huskies, they may even see him as a hero.