• Comment

Holgorsen pushing West Virginia into national spotlight

Former Texas Tech assistant will patrol visitors sideline at Jones AT&T Stadium as coach of the nation's No. 5 team

Posted: October 10, 2012 - 7:36pm  |  Updated: October 11, 2012 - 12:16am
Back | Next
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville talk during the first day of spring football practice in 2011 in Lubbock. Holgorsen brings the Mountaineers to Lubbock on Saturday.  Zach Long
Zach Long
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville talk during the first day of spring football practice in 2011 in Lubbock. Holgorsen brings the Mountaineers to Lubbock on Saturday.
Get your A-J Media Digital Subscription now!

Joe Madsen is in his fourth year as the starting center at West Virginia, and he’s never had as much fun as he’s having now.

“We are definitely on a high right now,” said the Mohawk-sporting snapper. “We’re having a good time.”

It’s easy to be living it up when you’re anchoring the line of the nation’s No. 3 offense, a unit that seems to score at will. The Mountaineers are averaging 571 yards and 52 points per game, led by early Heisman hopeful quarterback Geno Smith and a stable of speedy receivers.

It also helps, Madsen said, to play for a coach like Dana Holgorsen, the former Texas Tech assistant who has brought No. 5 West Virginia into the national spotlight during its first season of Big 12 Conference membership.

“He’s one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever played for,” Madsen said. “He’s a total players coach. He knows when to have fun. He knows when we need to grind, when we need to be serious. We are a very loose team, and a lot of that is a direct result of him.”

West Virginia fans are having fun, too. Just two weeks into their stay in the Big 12, the Mountaineers look very much the part of league contender after a 48-45 win against Texas in Austin, which came on the heels of a 70-point output in a win against Baylor the week before.

After that game, the stadium remained full even after the scoreboard hit zeroes, as fans belted out their traditional “Country Roads” anthem. The celebrations gathered steam — couches burning and the like — after a win against the Longhorns that vaulted West Virginia into the top five.

It’s not totally unexpected. Big 12 media picked the newcomers to finish second in the preseason conference poll.

With all the excitement and emotion surrounding West Virginia, one of Holgorsen’s biggest tasks has been insulating his team and reminding it of the rigors that lie ahead in one of the nation’s top conferences.

“From a mental standpoint, you need to stay focused,” Holgorsen told reporters this week. “You need to handle all your business away from here, but when you come in (to the football facility) you have to be focused and ready to go. If you think you can take anything for granted, you will get beat.”

Madsen added: “He lets us know there will be plenty of people telling us we are the greatest thing since sliced bread. We just have to keep our heads down and go to work.”

Given his team’s success, it is somewhat hard to believe Holgorsen, 41, is in just his second season as a head coach. Then again, his resume as an offensive guru is extensive, as Tech followers can attest. Holgorsen served as an inside receivers coach and later offensive coordinator under Mike Leach from 2000 to 2007, a period during which the Red Raiders went 65-37.

Following his stint with Tech, Holgorsen served for two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Houston before leaving for the same job at Oklahoma State in 2010. That led to the opportunity at West Virginia, where he has gone 15-3 as head coach.

One common theme along the way for Holgorsen has been great quarterback play. He helped tutor Graham Harrell, who went on to become Tech’s all-time leading passer. At Houston, he spent two seasons coaching Case Keenum, the NCAA’s all-time leading passer. He helped utilize the talents of NFL quarterback Brandon Weeden while at Oklahoma State, and now he’s drawing up plays for college football’s most talked-about signal caller in Smith, who is completing more than 80 percent of his passes this season.

“He’s had some good quarterbacks,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said, “and, obviously, he’s been a good quarterback coach everywhere he’s been.”

Holgorsen said he cherished his time in Lubbock, but he doesn’t expect any rush of emotions when he steps onto the visitors sideline Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.

“I had eight great years there,” he said, “but I faced Texas Tech when I was at Houston and then played a road game at Texas Tech when I was at Oklahoma State, so it’s nothing new to me. I’m five years removed and have been at three different places since then, so all those feelings and emotions went away a long time ago.”


To comment on this story:

nick.kosmider@lubbockonline.com • 766-8735

george.watson@lubbockonline.com • 766-2166


College football

Who: Texas Tech vs. West Virginia

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Jones AT&T Stadium

Records: West Virginia 5-0, 2-0 in Big 12 Conference; Tech 4-1, 1-1

Last game: West Virginia 48, Texas 45; Oklahoma 41, Tech 20

Last meeting: West Virginia 7, Tech 6 in 1938 Sun Bowl.

TV: ABC (channel 28; Suddenlink Cable channel 8)

Line: West Virginia by 41/2

  • Comment
Comments (17) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.

I sure wish we would've hired this guy

He knows how to win in the Big 12...


thanks for the laugh

I wish,I wish....I wish my football team wasn't the laughing stock in all the land!... signed-every Tech fan there is! How pathetic can you be man?


I'm going to go ahead and

I'm going to go ahead and assume you are Notre Dame fan. How does it feel to be back spotlight after so many years? Did you see Charlie Weis is at Kansas after he dropped your football program into obscurity? I'm sure you were fully backing him the whole time, you seem like losing doesn't mean much to you. Have fun watching the Irish fall back into nonexistance later on this year.


Notre Dame tshirt fan

The real Notre Dame fans are on Notre Dame sites.


No surprise

TTU had a good thing right under their nose and now he has gone somewhere else to develope an outstanding program. Part of the problem though is the whining players who think the coaches push them to hard. Just like the basketball program.



We will be just fine if WVU doesn't get away with the blatant holding OU did. I bet we end up doing a better job against WVU than UT did. Maybe I'm wishful thinking, but I really am not convinced that this is the same defense as last year and believe that the 126 yards we gave up in the 2nd half to OU is more of what to expect rather than the 254 we did in the 1st half. If we hold WVU to less than 40 points, and I believe it can be done, I say we win this ballgame.


OU game...

Remember, our offense pretty much gave OU 17 points. Add to that the fact that their first TD never should have happened due to a blatant holding call that the referee on the OU sidelines somehow missed...that's quite a swing in points. Does OU end up scoring more than 24 points? Probably. But if our offense doesn't just stink up the joint, we score more than 35...and that wins that ballgame easily.



I'm also excited about our defense. I'm not completely sold that Tuberville is a bad coach. I think he made a bad decision with Neal Brown though. Quick fact: since NB has been here, we have never scored more than 45 points in a Big 12 game and that came to the likes of Kansas and Baylor's defense. I'm still behind Tubs. I think he's turning our defense into something nice, which is what we all used to say was the missing link to greatness. The past two years of defensive atrocities have masked the real problem of a mediocre offense that at times sputters. We have the athletes to compete with the best in the country, but don't have an offensive coordinator that can adjust to adversity. Tuberville has not had a problem with replacing the defensive coordinator, it should be no different for the offense.


oh no!

Please tell me your not excited about your defense?....50-0 by halftime!,,,,and the stadium empty! you people are beyond pathetic. Your a Technical School for crying out loud! Another loss coming up for sure.


Quit hiding behind that

Quit hiding behind that "Independent" crap and come play us every year. Heck, play ANYONE any year and let's see how well you do. Let's see....you're 5-0...congrats. However, let's see what the numbers behind that 5-0 start say: 84th in passing at 211 yds/game, 41st rushing at 187.4 per game, 62nd in pts per game at a whopping 28.8 per game, and your best stat, 2nd in pts against at 7.8 pts allowed per game....

Your "mighty" opponents you've held to 7.8 pts per? Navy, Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan, and Miami. Navy's offense is ranked 114th, Purdue's 32nd, Michigan State 100th, Michigan 49th, and Miami's 55th. Your average ranking of offenses? 70.

Records of opponents? Navy 2-3, Purdue 3-2, MSU 4-2, UM 3-2, Miami 4-2. Combined records: 16-11....

None of these stats suggest you should be gloating over your mighty Irishmen son!



son,our "opponents" are not high schools. examples(Northwestern State..(wherever that is),Texas State..Really? lol,..New Mexico,Iowa State(another State?)..and of course Okla.( which ND will show you how to beat this year).Not to worry, Tech will be blown out of that game by halftime and that is a fact.(66-35) final. ND will never come to Lubbock to play because they would lose money. Stadium is not big enough..ND sells out playing Army for petes sake! Tech only sells out a few games a year...which they usually lose btw. ND will more than likely be in a BCS game this year and Tech will be home home watching as usual. ...sigh. :) Anyway,know your role and please stop wishing you were a real football program...it's getting beyond embarrassing!


Mission Accomplished

Great Job team, and irish guy almost was right about the score, but just wrong about the order, it is a shame we couldn't shut them out, but 49-14 is just fine with me.



Even a blind squirrel will find a nut! Nice win though for a "Technical" school. There is always next week for y'all to fall on your face and I'm sure you will. Always average and always will be and don't you EVER forget it!....again....simply pathetic!


As is

As is claiming to be an irish fan and living on these threads.

Back to Top