MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It was a re-energized Dana Holgorsen who took the podium at Milan Puskar Center for his weekly news conference Tuesday afternoon.
His traditional black polo had been traded for a spiffy blazer, his sighs for a smile.
It’s a big week in Morgantown, with Big 12 leader Texas (6-2, 5-0) visiting for a prime-time contest Saturday night, and the Mountaineers’ third-year head coach has a team (4-5, 2-4) that, after a 30-27 overtime victory against TCU last week, appears to be headed in the right direction.
“There’s going to be a lot of excitement surrounding this game, as there should be with every Big 12 football game,” Holgorsen said. “I’m obviously excited about the night game, and our guys are pretty excited about the atmosphere that’s going to be in Morgantown.”
The Longhorns started the season with losses against BYU and Mississippi, prompting a swift swap of defensive coordinators — Greg Robinson in for Manny Diaz — and Texas has won its past five games.
“They’re coming in on a roll,” Holgorsen said. “You can talk about their early seasons struggles if you want, but what I do is look at the last game they played and go backward from there to show what kind of improvement they’ve made and how their team has changed.”
That last game was a 35-13 victory Saturday against Kansas, a game in which junior running back Malcolm Brown ran for four touchdown and 119 of the Longhorns’ 221 rushing yards.
Texas hires AD
The Longhorns ended a monthlong search for athletic director DeLoss Dodds’ replacement Tuesday by announcing the hiring of Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson.
“Steve Patterson emerged as the perfect candidate to build on Texas’ athletic success and DeLoss Dodds’ legacy,” Texas president Bill Powers said in a statement.
The decision came as a surprise, as West Virginia’s Oliver Luck had been reported to be the heavy favorite for weeks — priorities “1 and 1A,” reported the Dallas Morning News a week ago.
Luck, who has a law degree from Texas and played quarterback for the Houston Oilers, never made a comment regarding the vacancy.
Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Ronald Carswell has been suspended indefinitely for a “violation of team rules.” Holgorsen said he would revisit Carswell’s status after the season.
Carswell, a junior-college transfer from Itawamba (Miss.) Community College, did not play against TCU. He is second on the team with 413 receiving yards and has two touchdowns.
Rigg sidelined with concussion
Senior linebacker Doug Rigg likely will miss the rest of the season with lingering concussion symptoms. Rigg had two concussions earlier in the season.
“He went in for a couple snaps last week and was in La-La Land,” Holgorsen said. “It’s a serious subject, obviously, so he’s out.”
“Words can’t describe how frustrated and disappointed I am, but I need to do my part as a leader to help these guys win,” Rigg tweeted Monday.
2014 schedule released
West Virginia released its 2014 schedule and it includes a season-opening meeting with current No. 1 Alabama in Atlanta, Ga., and home games against Towson, Oklahoma, Kansas, Baylor, TCU and Kansas State.
Here is the full schedule (home games in caps, all times TBA):
August: 30, Alabama (Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, Atlanta).
September: 6, TOWSON; 13, Maryland; 27, OKLAHOMA.
October: 4, KANSAS; 11, Texas Tech; 18, BAYLOR; 25, Oklahoma State.
November: 1, TCU; 8, Texas; 20, KANSAS STATE; 29, Iowa State.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: email@example.com, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.