Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mountaineers familiar with Big 12


— West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is no stranger to the Big 12.

While the Mountaineers are league newcomers, Holgorsen was a Big 12 assistant for nine of 11 seasons before becoming a head coach. He was at Texas Tech for eight seasons and spent a year as Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator.

So he has a pretty good idea what West Virginia faces going so far away to a new league after winning or sharing the Big East title six times the last nine years, including the last two.

“What we’re getting into is the same thing we got at home. And that didn’t necessarily exist in the conference that we were in last year,” Holgorsen said Tuesday. “The culture is there. The support’s there. The fan base is there. We’re going to fill up our stadium. Our team is used to winning, and that exists at the other nine universities in the Big 12 as well.”

What does he feel is the best way to explain it to West Virginia fans and people in the Big 12?

“What exists in the Big 12 exists in Morgantown, West Virginia, as well,” he said.

In the preseason media poll, the Mountaineers are picked to finish second behind Oklahoma, which won seven Big 12 titles over 11 seasons before Oklahoma State claimed its first crown last season.

The Big 12 wrapped up its two-day media session Tuesday with Baylor, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma State.

Baylor no longer has Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, the second overall pick by the Washington Redskins after bypassing his senior season. Oklahoma State is depending on a true freshman to replace Brandon Weeden and Texas goes into the season with sophomore David Ash and junior Case McCoy still competing to be the starting quarterback.

When Baylor coach Art Briles was asked about replacing Griffin, his immediate retort was, “How do you adjust to not having the best player football in the United States of America last year at the collegiate level?”

He later added that the Bears still expect to be a better team a year after matching a school record with 10 wins, including a six-game winning streak to end the season.

As for Ash and McCoy at Texas, coach Mack Brown said they came out of spring drills even.

“Last year at this time I sat here and we had four (options). And there was a lot of concern about trying to get four guys prepared for a new offense. ... It was all over the place,” Brown said. “What we have done now, we have two older guys that have been through a year with Bryan Harsin’s and Major Applewhite’s offense. They both won significant games.”


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