TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – West Virginia’s preparation for Alabama doesn’t differ from what it does for all of its other opponents, Dana Holgorsen said.
The Mountaineers’ coach just isn’t complaining about the extra time he’s been afforded to get his team ready for the Crimson Tide.
The two teams will open the 2014 season Aug. 30 at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta, and Holgorsen — speaking Monday on Bruce Feldman’s FoxSports.com podcast “The Audible” – said “we’re going to need every day we can get” to prepare for Alabama.
“You’re going to look at the success other teams have had. The hard part is trying to duplicate it when you’re facing such a good defense,” Holgorsen said. “They obviously lost some guys like they do each and every year to the NFL but they do such a great job recruiting and have over the last five years or so. They’re just going to plug the same type of player, same caliber players in there. So it doesn’t make it any easier to prepare for that.”
West Virginia went 4-8 last season, its second in the Big 12. Holgorsen’s first season with the Mountaineers ended with a 70-point performance against Clemson in the Orange Bowl, but replicating that sort of success has been a challenge over the past two seasons.
The Mountaineers’ offense experienced some uncharacteristic struggles in 2013, averaging just 148.7 rushing yards and 26.3 points per game, totals that ranked in the bottom half of the FBS. Holgorsen, who was an offensive coordinator at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State before he arrived at West Virginia, has a particular appreciation for the Crimson Tide defense, which stands out, he said, because of its speed.
“They’ve got so much speed in the secondary,” Holgorsen said. “Their front seven is arguably as good as it ever has been. Their D-line is big physical guys, their linebackers can put so much pressure on you from so many different looks … Their corners are so good they make you match up with you and play in man coverage as well.
“We got our work cut out for us. They play a bunch of different coverages and they get to the quarterback as good as anyone in the country.”
In an interview with The Charleston Daily Mail, Holgorsen said Alabama’s win over Texas A&M and its losses to Auburn and Oklahoma caught his eye because of its struggles against offenses that, like West Virginia’s, are based out of the spread.
Check out the rest of what Holgorsen said in Feldman’s podcast.