A very brief history of Coach Dana Holgorsen
The mountaineers are facing one of the toughest schedules in all of college football and will play 11 power 5 conference programs this up and coming season. Coach Holgorsen was quite adamant about this at the Big 12 media day, as he feels this is "not quite fair" and points to the fact that most teams on average only play 9 in other power five conferences nationally. Coach Holgorsen and any offense he coaches has a long history of producing some of the top quarterbacks in the NFL today, along with video game numbers that are unparalleled in college football today. With a 53-37 overall coaching record, Holgorsen is known for his "Air Raid" offense, which in his first year at offensive coordinator, Coach Holgorsen helped lead the Red Raiders offense to #4 in the nation in overall yards gained. in 2007, Coach was able to assist Quarterback Graham Harrall and Michael Crabtree lead the Red Raiders to the to offense in all of collegiate football. As Coach Holgorsen evolved his offense at the University of Houston with QB Case Keenum, he became known as one of the brightest offensive minds in all of college football, as Case became the NCAA's all time leading passer with more touchdowns than any QB in the history of college football. Oklahoma State was able to obtain Coach Holgorsen's services in 2010 and he shattered almost ever offensive record at Oklahoma State that season, along with producing another Bilietnikoff award winner in Justin Blackmon, Doak Walker finalist Kendall Hunter and NFL QB Brandon Weeden.
WVU Football - The Holgorsen Era (2011-Present)
Coach Holgerson enjoyed a great start with a 10-3 season in the former Big East after former WVU Football legend and athletic director Oliver Luck made him the Head Coach of the Mountaineers. After finishing the season defeating the mighty Clemson Tiger 70-33 in the Orange Bowl, the WVU Football team would make the transition to much better Big 12 play. After sub par seasons in their first five seasons of Big 12 play, WVU found a way to win consistently in 2016, as they were able to go 10-3 overall and 7-2 in Big 12 conference play, compared to floating around .500 or below prior. Last year they did not live up to expectations, as they finished the season 7-6 with a loss in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
The 2018 West Virginia Mountaineers
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Can the Mountaineers compete for the Big 12 Title and a chance at the BCS National Championship in 2018?
With nearly 3,500 yards through the air last year and operating the Holgerson led "Air Raid Offense", along with a talented receiving core with targets like David Sills. Quarterback Will Grier will undoubtedly light up the score board at Milan Puskar once again for the Mountaineer faithful, but will it be enough against opponents like TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and the rest of the talent rich Big 12? Can the Mountaineers find a way to win on the road, as they have historically struggled when traveling? I believe the mountaineers will have to rely heavily on players like LB David Long to play disciplined, yet fast paced defense to create key turnovers all season if the Mountaineers stand a chance to climb into not only Big 12 Title contention, but the BCS playoff discussion at the end of the 2018 regular season. Targets like Senior WR Gary Jennings, who was able to haul in a Big 12 leading 96 receptions and 1,096 yards last season, will need help aiding Alabama transfer receiver T.J Simmons, who could make a huge impact this year in this star studded receiving core. The Mountaineers have a very experienced defense with 9 out of 11 starters returning this season led by LB David Long Jr and S Toyous Avery. If more play-makers are able to step up in big time moments for the mountaineers defensively and on special teams this season, we could be talking about a very special season in Morgantown, WV.
2018 West Virginia Mountaineers Prediction
Grad transfer DT Jabril Robinson comes to WVU from Clemson for his 5th year, with defensive linemen, Kenny Bigelow from USC and Brenon Swift from Penn State. Truthfully, the interior offensive line is the only real question mark heading into the 2018 season. Heisman hopeful Quarterback Will Grier is back healthy after a remarkable 2017 campaign, where he threw for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns. If Grier can replicate his thrilling 2017 season with a QB rating of 162.72 in his 11 games played before injury and stay healthy for the entire season, we could be seeing WVU's first trip to the BCS playoffs. If they can tip-toe through the gauntlet of 11 FBS Power 5 opponents. I do not think Holgorsen really minds who is on the other side of the football and neither do the Mountaineers, as this season they bring not only arguably the best offense in all of NCAA football, but also a very balanced and experienced defense that has a major statement to make this year in the Big 12.
Oklahoma vs West Virginia Nov.23rd
The Sooners have averaged over 50 points a game ever since the Mountaineers came into the Big 12, but this is the best WVU defense the Big 12 has seen according to multiple sources. This contest will not only tell us if West Virginia is ready for the BCS playoffs or whether it will be another year of "what if's?" for the Mountaineers of West Virginia.
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