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Holgorsen sees positives in WVU’s season

Created on:   Mon, Nov 27, 2017   12:06 AM

Last modified:   Mon, Nov 27, 2017   12:06 AM

For The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — When WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen walked into the media room after a 59-24 loss to No. 4 Oklahoma on Nov. 25, he wasn’t seething.

Even though his squad had been thoroughly manhandled by the Sooners, one of the first things he wanted to say was how proud he was of his Mountaineers and what they had accomplished this season.

“I do want to mention I’m still proud of our guys and proud of our team,” Holgorsen said. “We weren’t picked very high and finished fourth in the Big 12. We didn’t beat Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, but those guys are above us in the standings. I’m still proud of our guys for fighting their way to a 7-5 record and finishing fourth in the Big 12.”

While fourth place was not the landing spot WVU envisioned when the season began, Holgorsen was able to take some solace in it after dealing with injuries to close out the regular season.

That included his veteran quarterback Will Grier, who missed the Oklahoma game with a broken hand and dislocated middle finger.

“I think with the Big 12 where it’s at, everybody beating each other, it’s the most competitive league in college football and the most competitive it’s been since I’ve seen it,” Holgorsen said.

However, Holgorsen doesn’t want his team to get used to being middle of the pack in the Big 12.

At some point, he wants to lift WVU to the level where it is competing for titles every year, like the Sooners.

“We’ll start recruiting (Sunday),” Holgorsen said. WVU athletic director Shane Lyons, “has promised us about $400 million. Players, facilities, tradition, it’s where we want to be and we have a lot of work to do.”

Holgorsen has been in the Big 12 since 2000. Whether it was as an assistant at Oklahoma State or as WVU’s head coach, Oklahoma has been the standard bearer for the conference.

So when he talks about what it’s going to take for WVU to become a title contender, he brought up the type of facilities that Oklahoma has compared to what is on the WVU campus and hinted around they need to do better.

“I think Lincoln (Riley) is doing a great job. It’s obviously a great program,” Holgorsen said. “I asked him what’d you need, like from a program perspective, and he said, ‘not much.’ That’s a good place to be in. Coach (Bob) Stoops left him in a great situation.”

But, before WVU can worry about getting closer to Oklahoma, it has one game this season. They are expecting a bowl invitation next week after all the conference championship games are played.

Players such as Justin Crawford want to see a better overall effort in whichever bowl the Mountaineers appear in.

“Just push ourselves harder, man. Just continue to play,” Crawford said. “Just fight. Just fight. No matter where we’re at or who we play, just fight.”