The air is much cooler and this week will feel a little shorter. The Mountaineers are playing another Thursday night home game for the first time in years. Anyone who’s sat in the cold at Milan Puskar through a Thursday night game knows that there’s just something a little extra special about starting the weekend early. Head coach Dana Holgorsen knows so too, and showed his excitement for his team getting back on the field this week and playing under the lights Thursday.
“We’re looking forward to Thursday night. This sets up to be a pretty good game for us, and we’re excited about just getting back out there and playing,” Holgorsen said. “I like Thursday night games, this will be fun. There have been a lot of them around here, clearly, we understand that. A lot of eyes will be on us to see how we respond to what happened up at Iowa State, so I’m looking forward to seeing us, as well. I think our guys are determined, I think their practices have been sharp; they’re a very determined team like I said last week, and it showed out there at practice. I think we’ll be ready to put or best foot forward.”
Coach Holgorsen was finally ready to discuss this week’s opponent, the Baylor Bears, as opposed to being silent on them last week during the bye. Holgorsen pointed out that the Bears offense is bringing back a lot of familiar names and faces from the last few seasons. Holgorsen expects Baylor’s offense to be more up-tempo and ready to move, something Coach Gibson and the defense will have to be ready for. On defense, the Bears will be playing a great humber of players and will likely be able to move around and play plenty of different schemes.
Holgorsen is hoping the team has worked on the mistakes from the loss versus Iowa State. The head coach was quick to not state that they had everything figured out, but that he and Coach Jake Spavital had met, rewatched the game and were going to be implementing hopefully some changes so as to not make the same mistakes again.
“Most every Big 12 game that we play in is going to be a four-quarter game. I wasn’t very happy with how we played the four quarters against (Texas) Tech, obviously, the first half, second half thing. Kansas, I think we could have probably put them away a little bit better. Kansas State, you could argue we probably could’ve had a better fourth quarter or whatever it is,” Holgorsen remarked. “That’s just coaching and knit-picking on things when you win. I’m anxious to see how we will respond; I think I know how we will respond. We’re going to go out there, and we’re going to play our (butt) off. Hopefully, we do that for four quarters, and we continue to develop into a better football team. That’s what the message is.”
The head coach also sounded excited for the team’s short week and Thursday night game, something all fans loved from back in the Big East days. Holgorsen knew it was something of the past, and is excited about this week’s game.
“We didn’t really have a lot of Thursday night games in the Big 12 prior to here recently, but the Big East did. I remember after our Thursday night practices when I was at (Texas) Tech all those years, about 10 years ago, it seemed like West Virginia and Rutgers were playing every Thursday night, or West Virginia and South Florida were playing every Thursday night,” Holgorsen said. “Now, the Big 12 has taken some of those games, as well. There’s just a lot of eyes on you.”
It’s safe to say Coach Holgorsen and his team are looking to make a statement Thursday night against the Bears. Morgantown at night is always quite the experience and this one is sure to be an experience as well.