MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A week ago, after West Virginia had lost a heartbreaking 47-40 overtime game to Texas, coach Dana Holgorsen cautioned, “We can’t let it beat us twice.”
The third-year West Virginia coach’s concerns were justified Saturday, when the Mountaineers came out flat and lost, 31-19. at Kansas (3-7, 1-6 Big 12).
“The Texas game beat us twice,” Holgorsen said with a grimace at his weekly Tuesday news conference. “I talked about it not happening, and it did.
“Why? You guys can keep pointing the finger at me. That’s what my job is. We didn’t reach [the players], we didn’t get them back, and that’s on me — I don’t mind saying it.”
Holgorsen echoed his offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson, saying that the Mountaineers, for the first time this season, simply didn’t play with enough effort to win.
“There have been losses I’ve was comfortable with as long as it doesn’t have to do with effort,” Holgorsen said. “If we lose because of effort, that’s where I get in a bad spot. And I saw that for the first time on Saturday.
The Mountaineers (4-7, 2-6) have an open week and will play host to Iowa State (1-9, 0-7) Nov. 30 to close the season.
Facilities to-do list
West Virginia had its weight room renovated before this season, but there’s plenty more to be done.
The next step?
“You’re sitting in it,” Holgorsen said, identifying the team meeting room. “It’s next on the list.”
Holgorsen said the wish list he delivered to the administration had three criteria: proper weight training, meeting and practice facilities.
“You have to be able to meet appropriately, which we can’t,” Holgorsen said, “and you need to be able to practice appropriately, which we can’t.
“I don’t think I’m being unreasonable with the requests that I’m asking for. We’re working hard on trying to get out there to raise the money that we need to make some of this stuff a reality.”
Holgorsen hopes the Mountaineers will soon be able to put synthetic turf on their outdoor practice field, which with its natural grass gets torn up too quickly and forces the team to practice inside Milan Puskar Stadium.
“You shouldn’t have to practice on your game field,” Holgorsen said. “Nobody else does.
“Everyone says we don’t have the space because we live on a mountain. Well, that’s not true. We have the space. We use that practice field six times per year. With the climate and the maintenance, the only way to do it is with a turf field. So that’s in our plans.”
When asked about the indoor practice facility housed next door to the stadium, Holgorsen said, rather matter-of-factly, “You’ve got to blow it up.
“If you want to use it the way people want to be able to utilize your indoor facility, then safety is key,” he said. “You need runoff, you need proper length and if you want to do the kicking game in there you need it to be a little higher. It’s dysfunctional. We use it for some offseason stuff, but it needs to be a bit more functional.”
Stephen J. Nesbitt: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.