Saturday Showed Just How Barren Dana Holgorsen Left the Cupboard

dana holgorsen

When Dana Holgorsen left West Virginia University, a Power 5 school, for the University of Houston, it wasn’t just the “I’m coming home” fairy tale the national media pushed.

In fact, Dana admitted as much when he was being introduced at the University of Houston. While he did say that Houston is home, he admitted the main reason he was leaving: Oklahoma owns him.

“I left [West Virginia] for a whole bunch of different reasons,” Holgorsen said, per ESPN. “Houston is home, the University of Houston is a great place, it’s got tons of potential and we’re going to make it as great as we can possibly make it, but the other side of it is I could never beat Oklahoma.

“That’s the only school in the Big 12 where we could never get over that hump. We lost 59-56 this year, and I’m like, ‘I’m outta here.’

Turns out his first game at Houston was a trip to Norman. We all know how that went for him.

Mountaineer fans are all too familiar with this type of situation:

So besides not being able to defeat Oklahoma, why else did Dana Holgorsen leave West Virginia? Because he pushed all of his chips to the center for the 2018 season and it resulted in an 8-3 regular season and a loss to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl where many starters took the day off. Beside the Oklahoma loss, West Virginia lost to a mediocre at best Oklahoma State team and was dominated on the road by Iowa State.

One of the main failures of the Holgorsen era was his inability to groom a quarterback he recruited out of high school. Will Grier, Skyler Howard, Clint Trickett and Geno Smith were the quarterbacks of the Holgorsen era. Alright, we’ll give him some credit for Geno, as he was the offensive coordinator for his sophomore season and the head coach for his junior and senior seasons. And the Mountaineers did have a few decent seasons with Howard and Grier at the helm. But it’s hard to have sustained success with transfer quarterbacks constantly leading the team.

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The situation heading into this season left Neal Brown the choice of rolling with Jack Allison and Trey Lowe or looking for a transfer. Brown was able to land Austin Kendall from Oklahoma by way of transfer. He’s been very underwhelming the first two games, but you can hardly put all of the blame on him. The running game is non-existent and the pocket collapses immediately upon dropping back to pass.

What about the offensive line? Anyone who has watched the first two games realizes that this is the root of all of the issues on offense. After West Virginia was held to 34 rushing yards against 24 attempts, that was cause for concern. The line was obviously a disaster against James Madison, but Mountaineer fans did what we do. We put a positive spin on it:

“You know, that James Madison d-line is better than some of the d-lines in the Big 12.”

“It’s a new system and that was their first time playing together. They’ll certainly performer better in their second game.”

I may or may not have went with one of those narratives.

Missouri gave up 297 yards to Wyoming. Surely West Virginia will get the rushing game on track against them, right? Wrong.

Midway through the fourth quarter WVU had -7 rushing yards. Fortunately Mizzou brought in their second and third-stringers, resulting in West Virginia getting their rushing yards total to 30 yards by the end of the game. 30 yards on 32 carries. 0.9 yards per carry.

How is a 1.14 yards per carry through the first two games of the season even possible? According to WV Metro News, there are only five offensive linemen on the current roster who are game ready. Yikes.

Unfortunately, this is going to be a tough first season. Coach Brown’s first year at Troy was tough when he went 4-8. He followed it up with three seasons of 10+ wins.

Getting started at a new school is extremely tough for college football coaches. Especially when you consider the way Holgorsen left the program before he ran to Houston.

Need proof. Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Ever heard of him? During his first season coaching the Tide, he went 6-6 and lost to Louisiana Monroe. In his third year he won the national championship.

Obviously we’re not saying Neal Brown is Nick Saban. But, it’s important our fan base shows some patience and stays the course while Brown gets his system and players in place. This season is going to be tough, but the team should improve as it goes on and while coaching at Troy his team made a massive leap between his first and second seasons.

In the meantime we’ll do what we can do: