West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen had his Big XII Media Day Press Conference on Tuesday morning. Here’s an excerpt from his Media Day comments, which started with general thoughts on the upcoming season:
Dana Holgorsen: “It’s Year Eight for me here. Its good to be here, good to be back. I tell ya, it’s an amazing place. Every time I come back here, we’ve been here around four times it just keeps growing. What an unbelievable place this is. They were gracious enough to let us practice in here when we were getting ready for the bowl game. It’s a great practice situation, obviously, but they do a great job hosting this event as well.
Our guys are excited to be here. It’s getting close. We still got a little vacation left. We’re not going to start practicing here tomorrow. We still have two and half weeks. They let us practice August 2, so that’s when we’ll get started.”
Media Question: “With all your offensive weapons and starters returning. How are you guys handling expectations and hype?”
Dana Holgorsen: “We welcome expectations. We want you guys to talk about us. I think we got a good group coming back. We had a decent year last year. Did some good things offensively, but there’s a whole lot of things I feel like we can do better, and our guys think we can do better. We want improvement. Handling the expectations aspect of it, that’s what you want. I know I’m going to get a lot of, ‘how are you handling the pressure of being picked second,’ or whatever it is. I don’t care where you’re picked, it doesn’t matter. There’s pressure everywhere.”
MQ: “You and Oklahoma are expected to finish at the top of the conference, and you play the last week and could possibly play back-to-back. How do you handle that?”
DH: “Don’t know, don’t want to think about it. Never done it. We got to play Tennessee first.”
MQ: “Do you feel it’s become a better strategy to find top end talent from transfers than recruiting high school players?”
DH: “We changed our recruiting strategy about four years ago. Our talent level across the board is much better than it was. What we’ve been successful with is JuC0 transfers and grad transfers, and we’ll continue to do so.”
MQ: “Depth has been a bit of a concern for the Mountaineers and managing that across the whole season. What are you doing to address that beyond your starters?”
DH: “The depth has been better and better every year, I think. The freshman and JuCo transfers we brought in this year have looked different than the guys we have been bringing in.”
MQ: This year, you open up against Tennessee. Over the last few years, you’ve had marquee opponents right out of the gate. Is that something you prefer scheduling wise?
DH: “We’re going to play Power-5 schools. We’re very proud of that at WVU. We play 11 Power-5 schools this year. Some schools only play eight or nine Power-5 schools.”
MQ: About a year ago, you turned over the play calling to Jake Spavital. I was just curious — as a guy that spent his whole life calling plays, do you like your new roll?
DH: “I became very interested in special teams. I had to do something. I never once questioned anything [Spavital] was calling. We weren’t incredibly efficient last year, but Year Two is always going to become more efficient. My job is to manage people. Whether it’s coaches, whether it’s players — manage the game, and then special teams is kind of the glue between offense and defense.
MQ: Quarterback Will Grier is the conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. You guys are promoting him for Heisman. How do you think he will be able to handle those expectations?
DH: “I would never approve of a campaign unless I knew the player could handle it. He’s ready for this, he’s prepared for this. I’ve got no worries for him on knowing how to handle this.”