West Virginia players get reality check
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West Virginia got some straight talk from the coaching staff Sunday night on how to handle the rigors of life in the Big 12 Conference.
Then the Mountaineers lost, 49-14, at Texas Tech, the team's first loss since Nov. 5, 2011, setting into motion a week of righting the attitude in time for No. 4 Kansas State.
"It was embarrassing," said coach Dana Holgorsen at his weekly media briefing. "Guys were embarrassed. They were hurt. They were disappointed. It's no fun. It's no fun for anybody. ...
"I didn't sugarcoat anything. It wasn't a positive session. It wasn't an 'It's OK guys. It's gonna be OK, don't worry about it.' That's not what we did. Our job is to coach them and tell them what reality is. I told them what reality [was] prior to going out there and we didn't reach them. Again, that's my fault for not reaching them."
Holgorsen said he and his staff attempted to express the difficulty of playing talented teams week after week.
"We had a lot of guys who wanted it to be easy," Holgorsen said. "We just went through the two hard games against Baylor and Texas, won close games in a couple of shootouts and had a whole bunch of people on that airplane going out there who wanted it to be easy. That's not reality in the Big 12. That's not reality in college football."
Holgorsen pinned the blame on himself for not having his team mentally prepared for Texas Tech.
"We watched [Texas Tech] on tape and said these guys are pretty dang good and you better get ready to play. We didn't have enough guys that bought into that. That's 100 percent my fault, and my responsibility to make sure they did that and they didn't."
With No. 4 Kansas State coming to town Saturday, players said they believe they have put the Texas Tech game behind them.
"The one thing I know, the bitterness of defeat weighs a lot more than the thrill of victory, so you just have to put it behind you," quarterback Geno Smith said. "Obviously it's embarrassing to lose in that manner, but I hate to lose. I know we're going to bounce back. There's nothing that needs to be said really other than just get back to work. "
Freshman receiver Travares Copeland got into the lineup Saturday, when he caught one pass for 5 yards. Copeland replaced Stedman Bailey, who left the game with a sprained ankle, becoming the 11th freshman to play for the Mountaineers this season.
He will start against Kansas State, said Holgorsen, who did not make clear who he will replace in the starting lineup.
"We're obviously going to proceed and use him," he said. "We'll find a spot. Depends on what the receivers do [at practice]."
Copeland took 28 snaps, said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, and likely will play at the inside receiver position.
Defensive back Brodrick Jenkins is out with a small cartilage tear, according to Holgorsen, but is not expected to be out long.
Jenkins tweeted that he had successful surgery on Tuesday.
Bailey and Jeff Braun left the Texas Tech game with ankle injuries and are day to day, according to Holgorsen.
Braun, who wore a boot on his left ankle, said he will play Saturday.
Defensive end Will Clarke, who did not play last week, is also day to day.
First Published October 17, 2012 12:00 am