West Virginia University’s football program is hoping that 2014 is much better than 2013 after finishing 4-8.
WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen enters his fourth season in Morgantown. In his first season, the last for WVU in the Big East, they finished 10-3. In the following two season while in the Big 12, Holgorsen is 11-14 overall and 6-12 in the Big 12. Holgorsen said he doesn’t feel any extra pressure headed into the season.
“Probably as much as everybody else in college football, it’s obviously a very very high profile and exciting time when it comes to each head coach that exists,” Holgorsen said. “We try to improve, I try to improve as a head coach each and every year and I put it on our assistant coaches to try to improve each and every year.”
WVU is picked to finish 8th in the 10 team Big 12 conference ahead of Iowa State and Kansas, teams that both beat the Mountaineers during the 2013 season. Holgorsen said he’s optimistic that things will turn around this year.
“I think we’re going into a good situation right now, got 55 guys coming back, the majority of the games that we were in last year were very competitive,” Holgorsen said. “Hopefully a lot of the guys that are in the locker room right now that were a part of some of those close losses and some of those close wins as well can use that to our advantage and understand what to expect and try to win a few more of those games next year.”
Four of WVU’s 8 losses last year were by 10 points or less. Three of their four wins were by 10 points or less as well. West Virginia opens the upcoming season against Alabama in Atlanta, Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. That game combined with an always tough slate in the Big 12 make for a tough schedule says Holgorsen.
The only member of the Mountaineers to be selected by the media to the preseason first-team Big 12 squad was defensive back Karl Joseph. Among WVU’s other top players is punter Nick O’Toole. He said he’ll do whatever he has to help the team succeed.
“Whatever helps the team out, if they need me to put something inside the 20 then that’s what I have to do, if we have a slow coverage team, which we didn’t have last year, than I have to give us some more hang time,” O’Toole said. “It’s a lot of different things and you just have to be a well-rounded athlete and a well-rounded punter to have the combination of hang time and distance and just precision punting.”
WVU opens the season August 30th against the Crimson Tide of Alabama.