WVU won't play the 'trap' game
MORGANTOWN - Dana Holgorsen doesn't want to hear the term "trap game'' used in regard to the trip his No. 5 West Virginia football team is taking this week. As far as he's concerned, the concept is a foreign one, as if he didn't even know the meaning of the word.
"I don't know what a trap game means, to be honest with you,'' Holgorsen said Tuesday at his weekly session with the media. "What does that mean?''
Well, OK, here it is:
In the past two weeks, the Mountaineers have played their first-ever Big 12 game, a 70-63 win over Baylor, and won 48-45 in front of the largest and loudest crowd ever at storied Texas.
A week from Saturday comes a return home to face Kansas State, a game that will be televised nationally in prime time and could very well be the first game between top-five teams ever played in Morgantown.
And in between? Well, there's Saturday's trip to Lubbock, Texas, to face a Texas Tech team that was just handed its oversized hat by Oklahoma 41-20.
Well, Holgorsen had a rebuttal at the ready. You want to know what a trap is? It's walking into 60,454-seat Jones AT&T Stadium for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game that will be televised by ABC.
"Did you feel like our game against Baylor was good from an atmosphere standpoint?'' Holgorsen asked rhetorically. "Well, that's what it will be like at Texas Tech. They've got 60-some thousand people that care about their football and I would assume that will be pretty rowdy as well.''
Holgorsen, of course, knows of what he speaks. Not only did he coach on those sidelines in Lubbock for eight years, he's returned there as an opponent.
Yes, Texas Tech may have slipped last week against Oklahoma. But the Red Raiders were also 4-0 prior to that and with the No. 1 ranked defense in the country.
And imagine that the Red Raiders are hosting the No. 5 team in the country, a newcomer to the Big 12, it's homecoming and Holgorsen is returning. There are obviously more than a few reasons for Texas Tech to be jacked up about this one.
"That's the beauty of being in the Big 12. Every game's like that,'' Holgorsen said. "Now, was Texas a little bit above and beyond based on 101,000 [people in the stands]? Yes. [Texas coach Mack] Brown even said it was their greatest environment ever. Well, that environment exists. We need to get used to being in those types of environments and having those types of games.
"And that's pretty cool. That's why we wanted to be in the Big 12. If they thought that was fun, well, get ready. We've got another one this week.''
Tech certainly has the capability of beating West Virginia. The Mountaineers are just a 31/2-point favorite and will face an offense well equipped to give its shaky defense fits (No. 7 in the country in passing and No. 15 in total offense). And Tech's defense still ranks No. 1 in the nation against the pass and No. 2 overall.
So the idea is to treat this one the same as all the others.
"I don't understand what a trap game is. You play the same every week,'' Holgorsen said. "If you don't have the ability to understand that every week is the same - and that we've got to trust our players and coaches and everybody that's involved to be able to do the same thing every week - you get beat. And that's whether it's a trap game or a quote-unquote big game.
"It's a game. All it is is a game. You prepare the same way and have the ability to play the same every week.''
BRIEFLY: Holgorsen once again had no real information on the availability of Shawne Alston for this week.
He did insist that the running back's bruised thigh was "the only issue'' keeping him out of the lineup.
"Like I said last week, we gave it a go for a couple of days and it didn't work and we didn't travel him,'' Holgorsen said. "He stayed home, got treatment Friday, Saturday and Sunday, he's been in there getting treatment [Monday]. So we'll see what he looks like.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.