5 Things That Will Keep Dana Holgorsen Up at Night
Offseason is the time when head coaches have to dread each year. Football players are free to do as they please, and this is their only break from the sport these athletes receive all year.
Giving 18-22 year olds free time is not always ideal; just ask Brian Kelly from Notre Dame and Dabo Swinney at Clemson. Kelly’s most experienced quarterback Tommy Rees was arrested last week, and Clemson standout Sammy Watkins wasn't far behind as he was recently arrested on drug charges.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen is hoping that his players show better judgement heading into summer break and stay out of trouble. Here is a look at five thinks that will keep the WVU head coach up at night.
In case you haven’t heard, Geno Smith is one of the premiere quarterbacks in all of college football. Some Heisman analysts are predicting the WVU QB to be a legit contender to take college football's highest honor.
To go with that, the program will almost surely be a top 10 team, and with that brings a tremendous amount of pressure. The last time the Mountaineers had this much hype, the team blew it against Pitt and WVU faithful saw their dreams shatter on their home field.
People in Morgantown haven’t forgotten this and there are fans who still talk about this to this day (seriously). This season the Mountaineers have a very difficult schedule, and Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Kansas State are top 25 caliber teams heading into 2012.
Texas will present significant problems for WVU as well, particularly with their run-heavy offense.The Mountaineers haven’t played a schedule this daunting in several years, and it will be interesting to see how the team handles this much hype heading into the 2012 season.
Managing the team's expectations, and ensuring that they don't lay an egg similar to the Syracuse debacle a year ago will be absolutely vital if the team wishes to reach their full potential.
The Mountaineers have a ton of work to do on the recruiting trail to keep up with their new competition in the Big 12. Every head coach covets the best players, and in the Big East the Mountaineers generally fielded the best teams from top to bottom.
That won’t be the case in the Big 12, at least not right away. 2012 from a competition standpoint will be a whole different ballgame with several new challenges. Competing against mammoth programs such as Texas and Oklahoma each year is a challenge in itself.
Now the Mountaineers will attempt to recruit against these programs, and it will take a few solid classes to match the depth that these teams currently have on their rosters. The coaching staff is fully capable of doing just that, and proved so last season when they secured 28 commitments from several talented players.
But right now, the team doesn't have even close to the depth as a team like the Texas Longhorns, and you better believe Holgorsen will be up all hours of the night creating new recruiting strategies for success in 2012.
Off the Field Issues
As stated in the intro, off-field issues drive coaches absolutely insane. All across the country college kids are being let out for summer break, and that means that there will be arrests that take place.
Holgorsen will simply have to cross his fingers, and hope for the best. Players at Texas, Notre Dame, and Clemson are the most recent programs to see their players in the wrong light, and they certainly won’t be the last.
Recently high-profile recruit and early enrolled QB Ford Childress had a run in with the law, and this forced him to miss the spring game. If any other Mountaineer players have any such incidents, you better believe the head coach will need some Nyquil before he gets any sleep at night.
The Progression of the Defense
Yes the Mountaineer defense looked solid in the spring game, however with the unit having just 15 practices under its belt in the new 3-4 scheme they still have a long way to go heading into the season. A year ago aside from Clemson in the Orange Bowl, most of the offenses in the Big East were not even close to the level of Big 12 competition.
Playing against high-powered offenses such as Oklahoma, TCU and Oklahoma State in 2012 the Mountaineers will have to hold their own defensively to make a run at the conference title. The bar is raised from the 2011 season, and the defense will have to replace talented defensive linemen Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller.
The pass rush will be crucial to success in the new conference, and if WVU can't get to the Big 12 quarterbacks such as Oklahoma's Landry Jones, they will be picked apart.
Sure the WVU offense will be fantastic in 2012, but what good is a high-powered offense if you can’t stop anybody? The season will ultimately depend on how well the D plays, and if they play well the sky is the limit; if not…well 8-4 is cool too.
Injuries are a part of the game, just ask the Chicago Bulls when they just recently lost both Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose for the playoffs due to untimely injuries. If anything like this happens to West Virginia they have no shot at the Big 12 title in 2012.
Mountaineer fans will be praying that the Big Three of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey stay healthy all season; but if an injury were to occur you can throw the 2012 season out of the window. Jewone Snow, Dustin Garrison, Pat Miller and Terence Garvin all missed the Blue and Gold game due to injuries, and the WVU faithful is hoping they bounce back from their injuries come fall.