Holgorsen talks Grier, new offensive coordinator

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen surveys the field during a practice last season. Photo courtesy of the Gazette-Mail.

MORGANTOWN — With the Mountaineers’ season opener still more than five weeks off, West Virginia University veteran head football coach Dana Holgorsen took time away from his vacation to educate fans around the country about this year’s Old Gold and Blue squad.

Holgorsen appeared on ESPN’s annual college football coaches’ “Car Wash” – in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day. He was joined by fellow Big 12 coaches from Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters.

“They (the NCAA) force us to take vacation right now,” explained the seventh-year leader. “So, I get to sit on a beach for a couple of weeks and recharge the battery. (I’m) all over the place. I try to make myself slow down and recharge myself, but there’s also no recruiting the first three weeks of July. So that’s when everybody gets out and gets things ready to roll.”

But, the Mountaineers’ top man did make an announcement during his first interview of the year on ESPN’s Sportscenter.

When asked by the show’s host if he was happy with his team’s offensive output during last season’s 10-3 campaign, the former offensive coordinator at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State laughed and said, “Evidently, not very good because I fired the offensive coordinator last year, which was me.”

A move made possible with the addition of former-WVU assistant Jake Spivital.

“We’ve done the same thing offensively for quite a while, but we brought in Jake Spivital as our offensive coordinator to call the plays here. He’s been doing it on his own for the past four years so I feel good about that aspect of it. It’s going allow me to do other things within the program.

“He’s worked with me before for four years. I trained him for four years then he’s been out on his own for four years. Speaking of Will Grier, I just wanted him to come in and give Will some individual attention and that’s already happened. So we’re looking forward to that.”

And, what Holgorsen has seen from Grier since his arrival last year has impressed the Mountaineers’ fun-loving head coach.

“He’s a smart kid, a coach’s kid,” added the coach. “A competitor. He hasn’t lost too many games. You mention 6-0 at Florida, but he didn’t lose too many games in high school. He’s just a guy who understands the game. Really, really low maintenance, high football IQ. Really loves the game and he’s doing a great job in the locker room as well.”

Grier’s size and strength also will permit the Old Gold and Blue to return to the attacking unit it was in Holgorsen’s first season in Morgantown.

“Probably a little bit (faster). Will can fool you now. He can move around a good bit. He’ll fool you, but he’s more of a pocket guy. So, I’m looking forward to getting back to some of the things we used to do really well, like sit in the pocket and throw the thing all over the place.”

Good news for fans wanting a return of the offense that put 70 points up against Baylor in WVU’s Big 12 opener in 2011.

“He’s fine. That’s all water under the bridge,” explained the coach when asked about Grier’s problems at Florida. “Like you said, (he) took something over the counter he wasn’t supposed to. Obviously, he learned from it. Served his one year suspension and is ready to go.”

Good news for an offensive attack that ranks No. 8 nationally – averaging 475 yards per game – since Holgorsen’s arrival. Grier’s only season with the Gators witnessed the North Carolina native average 200.7 yards per game in the air with 10 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

West Virginia’s head coach finished up his four minute stay looking at a pair of Twitter posts. The first was a picture of head men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins holding up a Coke bottle with the name Dana on it while the second was an action figure pose of Holgorsen.

“I pretty much ignore those things on Twitter,” said the coach. “Yea, that’s not a real good look I’m not going to lie. That’s not a good look so let’s take that thing off of there.”