Holgorsen: Team ready for Big 12 conference play

Vernon Bailey, Publisher
WV Sports

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Dana Holgorsen is ready to see his team move forward into the Big 12 schedule. The Mountaineers start the Big 12 portion against Kansas this coming weekend.

"We know each other pretty well. Our goal is to line up and play a good football. Put our guys is a position to succeed," Holgorsen said.

"Coach Beatty is a great coach. Doing a good job of getting some pretty good recruits in there," he added.

Holgorsen felt his players will be excited for this game. "It's Big 12 football and we need to go out and play our best," Holgorsen said.

Offensively Kansas offensive coordinator Doug Meacham is doing the same things as he did when he was at TCU according to Holgorsen. "They have a quarterback in Peyton Bender that can pitch the ball around and is a gunslinger," he said.

Against Delaware State Holgorsen was impressed with the play of fullback Elijah Wellman. He said the West Virginia native is primarily a blockers, comparing him to a sixth offensive lineman.

"We depend on him a lot. He's great in the huddle. He gets in there and that's why he's our team captain," Holgorsen said. He added that the coaches have taken him off some of the special teams units to keep him fresh.

"It's that starting quarterback gene. In particular coach's kids have," Holgorsen said of why his starting quarterback Will Grier has been able to lead the offense in such a short amount of time.

Holgorsen said that running back Justin Crawford was the best cheerleader out there Saturday and was even yelling at the second and third team defense to get off the field. Crawford is currently averaging 15 yards per carry but the staff expects that to increase.

On offense Holgorsen said that he's starting to see the balance he wanted. They will continue to force runs even when they are clearly taking the run away because it opens up big plays. He said the staff is calling run even when they throw the football on the perimeter.

"Ryan Dorchester does a great job tracking participation," Holgorsen said and that allows the team to have balance not only on special teams but in other areas including special teams.

Running back depth a big advantage for West Virginia. "We chart it on the sidelines and I go and talk about who needs to touch the ball and who needs to play more. To spread things out and keep guys fresh," Holgorsen said.

He also added that the days of 28 carry backs are over. It's the wear and tear that comes with it over the season that is the concern.

Holgorsen said all the long-term injuries are looking better and they would all practice today. He noted that Grant Lingafelter, David Long and Toyous Avery will practice but that doesn't mean they will play.

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