As the head coach of a major football program, one can never sit back and revel in a victory for too long. Such is the case for Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen on the heels of the win over Kansas State. Coach Holgorsen addressed the media Tuesday where he spoke about the team’s upcoming trip to Lubbock to take on the Red Raiders.
Saturday’s early kick against Texas Tech is not only the first road game for conference play, but is also the team’s first ranked opponent as the Red Raiders entered the AP Top 25 after upsetting Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Coach Holgorsen is well aware of what this game will bring to his team.
“It’ll be a huge challenge, but like I said, we understand what we’re getting ourselves into, and we’re looking forward to getting out there and competing against this group once again,” Holgorsen said.
Coach Holgorsen spoke to the media about all three side of the ball for Texas Tech, a program and a coach that Holgorsen is exceptionally familiar with.
“hey’re doing a good job up front – all five guys are back from last year, and they’re better. They’re running the ball adequately, a lot of run-pass stuff. And then, they just continue to reload at the receiver spot with guys that can make plays,” Holgorsen remarked. ” . . . They do a lot of the same stuff that we do defensively with their front just plugging gaps and letting those linebackers run and make plays, and they’re good at it. Them getting their safety (Jah’Shawn) Johnson back last week was a huge shot in the arm for them. He’s a four-year starter, team captain, seems like he’s been there forever. ”
Holgorsen also pointed out that Kingsbury’s special teams has continued to improve game after game since last season.
One aspect of the Texas Tech-Oklahoma State game Holgorsen made himself aware of was the very fast tempo on offense last Saturday night. For a head coach whose team was a little slow to start offensively, Coach Holgorsen quickly honed in on how fast the Red Raiders offense was inStillwater.
“They went fast. They went really, really, really fast. We have to be prepared for that, and we will. It’s different than what Kansas State did against us, or Youngstown, or Tennessee. It’s different than how we play here, although we have capabilities to go as fast as anybody. That’s what they’ve decided that’s what they’re going to be, which is why they are running 95 snaps per game,” Holgorsen said. “Everybody says time of possession is a big thing, which I can argue that, but their time of possession is really, really, really good because they are converting third downs and staying on the field. As long as it’s efficient, you’re good. Their quick-game stuff is a lot of the things I just said, a lot of (run-pass options), where the quarterback has to make a decision on handing it or throwing it, and then they use quite a bit of trickery on formations, a lot of unbalance, a lot of uncharacteristic things, unconventional things in football that you have to be tuned in every single snap.”
Coach Holgorsen assured those present and tuning in that he is extremely confident in defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, and knows that Coach Gibson will have his defense ready for the speed and efficiency they will line up against. Holgorsen is at a point with his team and coaching staff thus far in the season that he knows his coaches will have the team prepared for not only the uptempo Red Raider offense, but the hostile environment that Lubbock is on Saturdays. Holgorsen has that faith and trust in the team, pointing out how nice it is traveling to Lubbock with such a mature quarterback leading his team.
“It’s good to be me having him. We’re going to keep training the rest of them, too. No matter who it is, you have to function at a high level. He’s doing a good job right now. And we’re well-aware of what their environment is; I’ve seen it up close and personal for a long, long time. We’ll be ready to go.”
Saturday’s matchup will be the biggest challenge for the Mountaineers thus far. Starting at the top with the head coach, the tone for the week is serious and ready to get to Lubbock and leave with a victory.