Holgorsen questions West Virginia's mental toughness


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West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen called his team out Monday, questioning his players' mental toughness in the wake of the program's worst loss in more than a decade.

Two days after his team was blown out, 49-14, at Texas Tech, Holgorsen said Monday that his team's intensity was not great enough in Lubbock.

"Really disappointed that we weren't able to bow up when we faced some adversity. We were getting down. Bottom line is we were getting our butt kicked there, didn't have anybody throw up," said Holgorsen on the Big 12 Conference weekly coaches call.

In his postgame remarks, the sting of a whooping still fresh, he said he was disturbed that the Red Raiders played harder than his team.

"Anytime you play, and we only have 12 opportunities to play, and leave the game and say they played harder than us is something that's very disturbing to me," he said after the game.

Monday, he went a step further, suggesting the mental makeup of the team was at an all-time low, but that he already sensed things picking up.

"This group, [Sunday] their sense of urgency was a lot better than it was during the game, a lot better than it was during the travel," Holgorsen said. "Their confidence [has] taken a hit and being a little bit embarrassed. I think we'll bow up ... doesn't mean we're [going to] win because we have a really good team [fourth-ranked Kansas State] coming in here."

The Mountaineers were the talk of college football thanks to the dazzling offense led by Heisman Trophy frontrunner Geno Smith and his bevy of talented receivers heading into the Texas Tech game.

By halftime, the defense had dug a five-touchdown hole, the team trailed a stunning, 35-7 and by game's end, Smith had put up his poorest numbers of the season as the offense never got going to its potential.

West Virginia tumbled in the polls, from No. 5 to No. 17, and now has what might be the toughest game of the season coming up Saturday at home. Kansas State, perhaps the most-balanced team in the league, will bring an undefeated record to town (6-0).

There were injuries at Texas Tech, with receiver Stedman Bailey, offensive lineman Jeff Braun and cornerback Brodrick Jenkins leaving the game.

Holgorsen said he will have more information today on the health of his team, but intimated the circumstances Saturday likely led to the rash of players going down.

"Yeah, that had something to do with the mindset when mental toughness is an issue, and it's a physical game," Holgorsen said. "Guys tend to go down and get hurt quicker. We'll see how they [respond]. I'm not ruling anybody out at this point. I'll know more in my press conference [Tuesday] after we get them in here."

NOTES -- On the telecast of West Virginia's game Saturday, ESPN analyst Chris Spielman apparently said whether the Mountaineers were about to run or pass based upon the stance of offensive lineman Quinton Spain. Holgorsen addressed the issue Monday. "I know it's something we're aware of," Holgorsen said. "We try to make our stances and our signals [so they] don't give anything away from the defense knowing if it's run or pass. If we're doing anything from a personnel [or] stance standpoint we need to fix it and make sure we're not predictable."

wvusports

First Published October 16, 2012 4:00 AM


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